Great Britain has approved a in-vitro-fertilization technique that conceives babies using genetic material from three different parents. (If I’m sorting it out correctly, it will take one father and two different mothers, with the destruction of one embryo being used for spare parts.)
From the BBC:
The UK looks set to become the first country to allow the creation of babies using DNA from three people, after the government backed the IVF technique.
It will produce draft regulations later this year and the procedure could be offered within two years.
Experts say three-person IVF could eliminate debilitating and potentially fatal mitochondrial diseases that are passed on from mother to child.
Opponents say it is unethical and could set the UK on a “slippery slope”.
They also argue that affected couples could adopt or use egg donors instead.
Mitochondria are the tiny, biological “power stations” that give the body energy. They are passed from a mother, through the egg, to her child.
Defective mitochondria affect one in every 6,500 babies. This can leave them starved of energy, resulting in muscle weakness, blindness, heart failure and death in the most extreme cases.
Research suggests that using mitochondria from a donor egg can prevent the diseases.
It is envisaged that up to 10 couples a year would benefit from the treatment.
However, it would result in babies having DNA from two parents and a tiny amount from a third donor as the mitochondria themselves have their own DNA. . . .
Scientists have devised two techniques that allow them to take the genetic information from the mother and place it into the egg of a donor with healthy mitochondria.
The result is a baby with genetic information from three people.
They would have more than 20,000 genes from their parents and 37 mitochondrial genes from a donor.
It is a change that would have ramifications through the generations as scientists would be altering human genetic inheritance.
Objections to the procedure have been raised ever since it was first mooted.
Dr David King, the director of Human Genetics Alert, said: “These techniques are unnecessary and unsafe and were in fact rejected by the majority of consultation responses.