'It is time to make' three-person babies

Thursday, 01 December 2016 14:27
Minhera Elen
Minhera Elen

Zon Staff

It is time to start making babies from three people, according to scientists advising the UK's fertility regulator.

Baby

The move has been described as "historic", and the regulator will make its decision next month.

Doctors want to make babies from three people to prevent diseases that starve the body of energy, leading to brain damage, muscle wasting and heart failure.

However, fresh evidence suggests it will fail in one in eight pregnancies.

Three-person IVF replaces the defective power packs in the mother's egg - called mitochondria - with healthy ones from a donor woman.

A three-person baby has most of its genetic inheritance from its parents, but also a tiny amount from the donor woman.

Parliament has already legalised the controversial procedure, and a baby has been born from the technique in Mexico.

However, there have been calls for extra checks on the science before it goes ahead in the UK.

Prof Robin Lovell-Badge, one of the researchers who reviewed the evidence, said the moment had come.

"We're not going to learn much more now unless you try it out for real basically - it's at that stage," he said.

"There's no reason why it shouldn't go ahead now, but do it cautiously on selected patients where the risk of having a badly affected child is very high."

line break

Diagram showing structure of a cell

The structure of a cell

Nucleus: where the majority of our DNA is held - this determines how we look and our personality

Mitochondria: often described as the cell's factories, these create the energy to make the cell function

Cytoplasm: the jelly-like substance that contains the nucleus and mitochondria

line break

However, the technique can still lead to some defective mitochondria ending up in the resulting embryo.

A study, published in Nature, suggests those defective mitochondria could still take over in one in eight babies and cause disease.

Researchers at Oregon Health and Science Unit created embryos from four women who had children with mitochondrial disease.

Samples of those embryonic cells were then grown in the laboratory.

Prof Paula Amato, who published her findings in the journal Nature, said: "Some embryonic stem cell lines did revert back to the mutant mitochondrial DNA."

The scientific review team has recommended extra checks during pregnancy to ensure the baby is healthy.

Prof Lovell-Badge said: "It's likely to be something we have to worry about if the experiments that have been done on embryonic stem cells are representative of embryos that were re-implanted.

"That's why we recommend a pre-natal diagnosis method to check whether reversion is occurring in the developing foetus."

A team in Newcastle has pioneered research in the field and is likely to be the first to be given a licence to make three-person babies.

Prof Doug Turnbull, from Newcastle University, said: "This is obviously great news, and I agree with the report conclusions.

"I think the report highlights the very careful way in which the UK has proceeded with this new IVF technique and hope the HFEA [Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority] approve this at their meeting in December."

Commenting on the report, Prof Bert Smeets, from Maastricht University, said: "It is historic that the independent science review panel concludes that it is appropriate to offer mitochondrial donation techniques as clinical risk reduction treatment for carefully selected patients."

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-38159777

Video

Scientist Says He Found Definitive Proof That God Exists

Helen Cassan Dra   Science & Tech   23 December 2016

Michio Kaku, one of the most renowned theoreticians of modern science, proves to have found evidence of a force “that…

Weekly hot post

Revealed: What is The Truth About The “800-Year-Old Mobile Phone ”?

Helen Cassan Dra   Discovery   18 January 2017

Sometimes we come across strange ancient artifacts, however, this is something I was not expecting. Sure sometimes they can resemble…

La familia de una agente de la CIA que planeaba matar a Trump, asesinada con arma de energía

Helen Cassan Dra   News   17 January 2017

Noticia desagradable pero que da idea de cómo de serias están las cosas a tan sólo unos días de la…

Este 9 de enero la Tierra estuvo a punto de desaparecer y nadie lo notó

Helen Cassan Dra   Space   13 January 2017

Un asteroide del tamaño de un edificio de 10 pisos pasó muy cerca de nuestro planeta, lo cual fue previsto…

A woman is discovered after 800 million years in perfect condition in her coffin - It can change the course of history!

Helen Cassan Dra   Discovery   11 January 2017

In the summer of 1969, an incredible discovery was made and to this day little is known, it was in…

Una mujer es descubierta después de 800 millones de años en perfecto estado en su ataúd- ¡Puede cambiar el curso de la historia!

Helen Cassan Dra   News   11 January 2017

En el verano de 1969, se hizo un descubrimiento increíble y que hasta hoy día es poco conocido, fue en…

Sex And Aural Energy

Helen Cassan Dra   News   30 December 2016

Pay attention to whom you share your intimate energy with. Intimacy at this level intertwines your aural energy with the…