Feeds

Brit scientists brew up three-parent embryo

Two mums and one dad fight hereditary diseases

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.