Feeds

Brit scientists brew up three-parent embryo

Two mums and one dad fight hereditary diseases

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.