Scientists in Britain want to begin testing a new IVF technique that would combine the genetic material from three people to create a child, according the The Daily Mail. The technique could help to prevent devastating genetic diseases like muscular dystrophy from being passed down, but current laws would need to change to allow for the testing. The government is expected to vote on it later this year.
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The process involves taking healthy DNA from a mother’s egg (leaving mutations behind), and transferring it to a donor egg with the nuclear DNA removed. The fertilized egg would then be implanted into the mother’s uterus. Although technically the embryo would carry genetic material from three people, it would not inherit the donor’s characteristics. Researchers estimate the procedure could be used starting in two to three years.
Many are up in the arms over the idea of “hybrid” children, and think the idea of genetic engineering is a slippery slope. But for carriers of genetic diseases, the research gives new hope that they might be able to have biological children without fear of passing on gene mutations. About 1 in 5,000 children are affected by muscular dystrophy and other genetic diseases this technology could help eradicate. These serious diseases cause serious medical problems; many sufferers do not survive to adulthood.
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What do you think about this advance? If you were a carrier, would you take advantage of this technology, take your chances, or just choose not to have biological children?