UK may approve creating babies with DNA from 3 people - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

UK may approve creating babies with DNA from 3 people

Posted: Updated:

Britain may allow a controversial technique to create babies using DNA from three people, a move that would help couples avoid passing on rare genetic diseases, the country's top medical officer says.

The new techniques help women with faulty mitochondria, the energy source in a cell, from passing on to their babies defects that can result in such diseases as muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, heart problems and mental retardation. About one in 200 children is born every year in Britain with a mitochondrial disorder.

For a woman with faulty mitochondria, scientists take only the healthy genetic material from her egg or embryo. They then transfer that into a donor egg or embryo that still has its healthy mitochondria but has had the rest of its key DNA removed. The fertilized embryo is then transferred into the womb of the mother.

Some groups oppose artificial reproduction techniques and believe the destruction of eggs or embryos to be immoral. British tabloids jumped on the procedure when it was first announced in 2008 and labeled it the creation of a three-parent baby -- the mother, the donor and the father -- a charge scientists claim is inaccurate because the amount of DNA from the donor egg is insignificant.

"Scientists have developed ground-breaking new procedures which could stop these diseases being passed on," Britain's chief medical officer, Dr. Sally Davies, said in a statement on Friday. "It's only right that we look to introduce this life-saving treatment as soon as we can."

Similar research is going on in the U.S., where the embryos are not being used to produce children.

Earlier this year, the U.K.'s fertility regulator said it found most people supported the new in vitro fertilization methods after a public consultation that included hearings and written submissions. Critics have previously slammed the methods as unethical and say there are other ways for people with genetic problems to have healthy children, like egg donation or tests to screen out potentially problematic embryos.

In a response to the public consultation, the charity Christian Medical Fellowship said the techniques were unethical. "We do not consider that the hunt for `therapies' that might prevent a small number of disabled children (with mitochondrial disease) being born justifies the destruction of hundreds if not thousands of embryonic human lives," the group said. It also said there were lingering concerns about the safety of the techniques.

British law forbids altering a human egg or an embryo before transferring it into a woman, so such treatments are currently only allowed for research. The government says it plans to publish draft guidelines later this year before introducing a final version to be debated in the U.K. Parliament next year. Politicians would need to approve the use of the new techniques before patients could be treated.

If British lawmakers agree, the U.K. would become the first country in the world where the technique could be used to create babies. Experts say the procedures would likely only be used in about a dozen women every year.

"Many of these (mitochondrial) conditions are so severe that they are lethal in infancy, creating a lasting impact upon the child's family," said Alistair Kent, director of the charity, Genetic Alliance U.K., in a statement. "An added option for families at risk of having a child with such a condition is welcome."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/06/28/uk-may-ok-creating-babies-with-dna-from-3-people/#ixzz2XVCNHtYX

  • Viral StoriesMore>>

  • Ravens fans, men and women, wear Ray Rice jerseys at Thursday night game

    Ravens fans, men and women, wear Ray Rice jerseys at Thursday night game

    Thursday, September 11 2014 11:18 PM EDT2014-09-12 03:18:32 GMT
    Music blared from the purple bus, and Baltimore Ravens fan Racquel Bailey stood with drink in hand amid her usual tailgate buddies while making a bold fashion statement: a black, rhinestone-decorated jersey with the white No. 27. A Ray Rice jersey.
    Music blared from the purple bus, and Baltimore Ravens fan Racquel Bailey stood with drink in hand amid her usual tailgate buddies while making a bold fashion statement: a black, rhinestone-decorated jersey with the white No. 27. A Ray Rice jersey.
  • Thieves steal pumpkins grown by preschoolers

    Thieves steal pumpkins grown by preschoolers

    Thursday, September 11 2014 12:28 PM EDT2014-09-11 16:28:45 GMT
    PORTALES, N.M. (AP) -- Thieves have picked clean a pumpkin patch that had been tended to by New Mexico preschoolers. Eastern New Mexico University's Child Development Center said the Portales school's pumpkin patch was raided sometime over the weekend after students had worked for months growing the pumpkins. School officials found the pumpkins missing and vines destroyed Monday morning. Lara Vaughan, the school's master teacher, says the four full pumpkins were just about to turn orange. Sh...
    PORTALES, N.M. (AP) -- Thieves have picked clean a pumpkin patch that had been tended to by New Mexico preschoolers. Eastern New Mexico University's Child Development Center said the Portales school's pumpkin patch was raided sometime over the weekend after students had worked for months growing the pumpkins. School officials found the pumpkins missing and vines destroyed Monday morning. Lara Vaughan, the school's master teacher, says the four full pumpkins were just about to turn orange. Sh...
  • Summer snow covers ground in Denver

    Summer snow covers ground in Denver

    Thursday, September 11 2014 12:17 PM EDT2014-09-11 16:17:10 GMT
    DENVER - Technically, it's still summer for a few more days but it's snowing already in Colorado! The Denver area saw a dusting Wednesday and could get a bit more snow as a cold front moves through. Fortunately for residents there, this is just temporary and they'll enjoying 70 degree days again soon.
    Technically, it's still summer for a few more days but it's snowing already in Colorado! The Denver area saw a dusting Wednesday and could get a bit more snow as a cold front moves through. Fortunately for residents there, this is just temporary and they'll enjoying 70 degree days again soon.
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices