Three person DNA to make a baby means biologically, there are three parents. Is humanity ready for this health policy? It seems like the UK government is and they're waiting to press the Go button.
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Embryo modification which contains three-person DNA has practical purposes than just a whim which most people outside the realm of medical technology may perceive. Not every person's DNA is perfect. Some carry genes that can potentially harm offspring if something goes awry in their development process.
Genetically transmitted diseases like Angelman syndrome
, sickle-cell disease among others can be intercepted with a third person's DNA structures found in the mitochondria through a procedure which is sometimes called three-person in vitro
Scientists have informed UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in November 30 that after 20 years of research, they are now ready for a limited clinical testing of the in vitro therapy.
A mother's defective mitochondria will be replaced by a healthy one from another woman's DNA.
HFEA will make the decision on allowing the clinical trial this December 15. A spokesperson said that if the decision will be positive, the first procedure that is patient-to-patient approved could start by March or April 2017.
Mary Herbert, who is part of the team of scientists in Newcastle University in the quest to offer this treatment to women said, "We’ll be ready, I hope, to press the button if we get the green light."
The UK government had already legalized the treatment last 2015 but HFEA had further requested for additional research before allowing the test. The same test had already been performed to countries that had laws against it. According to experts, that should be enough for UK approval.
Dieter Egli, a stem-cell scientist at the New York Stem Cell Foundation gave an opinion on why UK should allow it. He said, “Maybe it’s not the best choice, but they will go elsewhere, even if it means greater risk, less oversight and less expertise. I think we can’t blame them for that.”
Other recent studies have contested the mitochondria treatment. Experiments were performed where the supposed virtually free of carry-over mitochondria including the woman donor's mitochondria still regained the mother's original during the embryonic culture process.
It's expected that we are going to shake the social norms in parenting and families with this three-parent system. Also, despite the uncertainty of the three-parent treatment, we can be certain that we are far advancing in genetic-based therapies.
See: CRISPR Gene-Edited Cells Tested for the First Time! Revolutionize Cancer Treatments!