UK allows doctors to create three-parent babies through mitochondrial donation

Britain’s fertility regulator Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has allowed doctors to create country’s first ‘three-parent’ babies through mitochondrial donation therapy (or MRT). This move is aimed at preventing passage of incurable genetic diseases from mothers to offsprings.

Key Facts

HEFA has approved procedures to be applied on two women in the city of Newcastle in northeast England. The procedure will use MRT for the women, having neurodegenerative disorder genes which causes problem with movement or mental functioning.It will create first three parent baby in UK within a year.

Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy (MRT)

MRT or Mitochondrial donation is medical technique in which defective mitochondria carried by a woman is replaced with the healthy mitochondria of a donor. Through invitro fertilization technique (IVF), the egg is then fertilised with the partner’s sperm. Thus the embryo remains free from any such defects. The two most common techniques in mitochondrial donation are maternal spindle transfer and pronuclear transfer. UK was first country to officially pass law to allow three parent baby. But procedure was successfully tested in Mexico, giving birth to world’s first three parent baby in September 2016.

Benefits

  • It will prevent transmission of mitochondrial (genetic) disease from one generation to the next.
  • It will give parents chance of having a child that is over 99% genetically matched to them and most importantly free of the mitochondrial disease.
  • It has no impact on personality or looks of the offspring from third DNA set, as surrogate mitochondrial DNA is separate from core DNA in cells.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2018

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