Britain’s first three-parent babies could be born this year, after Newcastle University was given the green light to carry out a controversial IVF technique using the DNA of two women.
Mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) will be made available to women who are in danger of passing on devastating and fatal genetic disorders, such as muscular dystrophy, to their children.
It is controversial because babies born after MRT would effectively have three genetic parents. A tiny proportion of their DNA would come from their mother, father, and a third person – a female egg donor – to replace abnormal genes in the mitochondria. ..
Mitochondria only hold around 0.1 percent of a person’s DNA, which is always inherited through the mother. Abnormal mitochondrial DNA can lead to potentially fatal conditions affecting vital organs, muscles, vision, growth, and mental ability. Such defects are said to affect one in 4,000 people.
hat-tip Stephen Neil