Artificially inseminated babies created from the genes of three people could be a reality as early as 2014, with the UK the first to approve so-called mitochondria replacement to prevent inheritable diseases. The controversial procedure involves transferring the genetic material from two parents into an egg from another woman; by removing the donor egg’s nucleus, and replacing it with the parents’ nucleus, the risk of inherited defects that could have otherwise been passed down to the baby is removed. However, thefact that the child will have DNA from three parents, not two – albeit only around 0.1-percent from the woman who donated the egg – has some genetic modification opponents angry, given IVF embryos are destroyed in the process.
Mitochondria replacement is promising, because it opens the door to stripping away mitochondrial disorders, which affect around one in 6,500 people, and include heart conditions and muscular dystrophy. The mitochondria are the sources of chemical power in the cells, but if not functioning correctly can leave developing babies short-changed for energy, and as a result health issues.
Where the replacement therapy steps in is in switching out the faulty mitochondria for fully-functioning alternatives. The donor egg’s mitochondria has its own genetic material, and so while the bulk of the baby’s DNA is that of its parents, from the transplanted nucleus, the all-important “cellular power packs” lack those flaws found in the parents’ versions.
Written By: Chris Daviescontinue to source article at slashgear.com