‘3 parent’ kids
by Emma Morton
UK scientists have created “designer embryos” containing DNA from a man and TWO women.
The breakthrough gives hope of healthy children to couples with genetic disorders in their families.
It also offers the prospect of eradicating fatal genetic diseases.
But the procedure – dubbed three person IVF – sparked controversy last night.
Researchers at Newcastle University set out to prevent damaged DNA in mitochondria – the “batteries” that power cells – from being passed on to offspring.
They removed nuclei from the sperm and egg of affected couples, leaving behind the mitochondria.
The nuclei were put into one of the fertilised eggs left over after other women had IVF treatment.
This egg had its nuclei removed – but retained its healthy mitochondria.
Eighty embryos were created but destroyed after eight days.
Lead researcher Professor Doug Turnbull said: “What we’ve done is like changing the battery on a laptop.”
The scientists would need a special licence to culture embryos for longer periods and the procedure would currently be illegal in IVF clinics.
One in 200 British children born each year has a genetic mutation and some are fatal.
But opponent Josephine Quintavalle, of the anti-cloning group CORE, said: “They are creating a child with two mothers. We have to find better ways to cure diseases.”