Hybrids: end to inherited disease?
OREGON: Scientists have produced four baby monkeys who each have three biological parents.
They used an in vitro fertilisation procedure designed to stop the spread of incurable inherited diseases.
Scientists believe the breakthrough could lead to the first genetically engineered children within a few years.
But critics say it is a step towards an era of hybrid children and erodes the sanctity of life.
The technique intends to help women who carry genetic diseases. It involves transferring healthy DNA from the mother’s egg cell into an egg donated by another woman.
The American team who produced the macaque monkeys say the technique could be used to eradicate potentially fatal for ms of inherited epilepsy, blindness and heart disease.
The diseases are caused by mutations in the mitochondrial DNA which is passed down from mothers to children. It can only be passed on via mothers’ eggs, not through sperm.
The researchers used “hybrid” eggs with the mother’s nuclear DNA and fully functioning mitochondrial DNA from the donor. This alters the DNA inherited by future generations, though the children inherit physical characteristics from their real mother. – Daily Mail