UK scientists allow three-parent babies mitochondrial gene therapy
An independent panel of British scientists and experts has formally given nod to introduce so-called three-parent baby fertility treatments or mitochondrial gene therapy (MGT) procedures.
The panel tasked with reviewing the safety of MGT held that this practice should be cautiously adopted to prevent certain genetic diseases from being passed on to future generations. Thus, it paves the way for the country to officially introduce the procedures.
Earlier in February 2016, British Parliament voted to legalise three-parent baby fertility treatments or MGT procedures. It was first country in the world to legalise creation of In-Vitro Fertilisation babies with DNA from three people.
The world’s first three-parent baby boy was born in Mexico in April 2016 to a Jordanian couple with help of this new fertility technique which incorporates DNA from three people in embryo.
What is mitochondrial gene therapy (MGT)?
- MGT or Mitochondrial donation is a 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 genetic defects.
- Thus, it prevents the transmission of mitochondrial (genetic) disease from one generation to the next.
- The two most common techniques in mitochondrial donation are pronuclear transfer and maternal spindle transfer.
- MGT proposes to give parents chance of having a child that is over 99% genetically matched to them and most importantly free of the mitochondrial disease.