Thursday, June 05, 2008

Trying to make babies with 3 parents

Stem cell research - it gets more bizarre and infinitely more interesting every time I read about it. Scientists have figured out that if they can make a child with DNA from 3 parents they might be able to prevent many hereditary disorders.


Earlier this year a team at Newcastle University created the first IVF embryos to contain DNA from one man and two women. The project, highlighted by the latest issue of New Scientist magazine, was designed to offer a treatment for a series of genetic conditions, including some forms of muscular dystrophy and epilepsy, caused by mutations in the mother's mitochondria. The "batteries" which provide cells with energy, mutations in the mitochondrial DNA affect one person in every 6,500 and can cause around 50 known diseases, some which lead to disability and death.

Prof Doug Turnbull, who leads the research, said: "Over the next two or three years we are hoping to make significant progress on this, because we want to offer hope to mothers who have this fault in their mitochondria as soon as possible." (Link)

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