Feeds

Brit scientists brew up three-parent embryo

Two mums and one dad fight hereditary diseases

Build a business case: developing custom apps

British scientists have successfully created "three parent" embryos using a technique they hope will offer "effective treatments for a range of serious hereditary diseases within five years".

The research could benefit mothers who suffer from mitochondrial DNA defects which might be inherited by their offspring and provoke any one of 40 different diseases, including those causing "fatal liver, heart and brain disorders, deafness, muscular problems and forms of epilepsy", as Reuters explains.

The Newcastle University team manipulated three DNA sources - the parents' nuclear DNA taken from a fertilised egg created by IVF, and an egg from a third party from which the nucleus had been removed. They transplanted the nuclear DNA into the nucleus-free host egg, thereby creating a foetus with its parents' genes inherited from the nuclear DNA but with the mitochondrial DNA of the second "mum".

Team member Patrick Chinnery summarised to Reuters: "The idea is simply to swap the bad diseased mitochondria - give a transplant, if you like - for good healthy ones from a donor. We're trying to prevent kids being born with fatal diseases."

The team experimented on "abnormal embryos left over from IVF therapy" to create the two-mum-one-dad embryos, which were "destroyed after six days".

Reuters concludes: "Stiff opposition to the technique is likely from critics of embryo research who fear the creation of designer babies." ®

Bootnote

Mitochondrial DNA is inherited exclusively from the mother. Sperm do carry mitochondrial DNA, but this is "destroyed" within the embryo after fertilisation.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's SHOCK DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.