World’s First ‘Three-Parent’ Babies Could Be Born In the UK

Posted by on December 18, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 0 Comments

The Guardian

dna babyA further step towards creating babies using DNA from three people has been taken by the UK government with the announcement of new regulations to be put before parliament. The move was hailed as a “milestone” by the head of one charity representing those affected by mitochondrial diseases, which thecontroversial fertility technique aims to prevent.

MPs will be asked to vote on whether the UK should become the first country in the world to legalise the procedure, an IVF technique that uses genetic material from a mother and a father as well as a donor egg – minus its nucleus – from another woman.

The donor contributes healthy mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to replace defective mtDNA responsible for a host of serious inherited diseases. Housed in the mitochondria – the cell’s “power plants” – and not the cell nucleus, mtDNA accounts for only 0.1% of a person’s genetic make-up.

Mitochondrial diseases are rare, affecting around one in 5,000 of the population, but can be devastating for families. They cause a wide range of different conditions affecting muscles, nerves and organs, and can lead to blindness, deafness, autism and learning difficulties.

One of the regulations laid before parliament says that the donor would not be classed as a parent related to the child. Others say that the fertility regulator must assess each case for a significant risk of disability or serious illness, and that fertility clinics would need to obtain a special licence to offer the treatment.

In addition, any child born as a result of the technique would have no automatic right to information about the donor.

Robert Meadowcroft, chief executive of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, which helps people suffering from mitochondrial diseases, said: “Today’s news is an important milestone for families affected by mitochondrial disease.

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