UK May be First to Have Babies Made From Three People
Britain may be the first country to allow scientists to create babies using DNA from three people.
On Wednesday, the UK's fertility regulator, the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, said it has advised the government there is no scientific evidence to say applying the IVF technique using DNA from three people is unsafe.
However, the authority recommended that regulation and safeguards be put in place.
DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a molecule that encodes genetic instructions relating to all known living organisms and many viruses. IVF is in vitro fertilization a process in which an an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body.
It is now up the British Parliament to decide whether to allow such a procedure to take place.
"This is advice, this is not a decision we can make. It is now up to parliament to consider whether this technique is permitted in treatment," Professor Lisa Jardine, chair of the fertility regulator, told reporters.
"We have no idea when this will be available. It's likely to be years - it is not a short time frame. We took the public temperature and there is broad support to give families at risk a chance of having a healthy child."
The recommendation by HFEA comes after a public consultation at the end of 2012 showed there was support for the technique.
The three-parent IVF would be used to help treat families at risk for "mitochondrial disorders."
The idea is to use mitochondria from a donor egg but keep DNA from the two parents.
The three-person IVF technique involves one donor egg and one parent egg being fertilized with sperm, creating two embryos.
The pro-nuclei which contains the genetic information, from the parents' embryo is extracted and replaces the pro-nuclei of the donor egg. The donor egg containing the genetic information of the two parents is then implanted in the womb.
Critics of the technique have voiced ethical concerns and worry that it would lead to further genetic modification.
Some of the critics of the technique are religious groups such as the Roman Catholic Church which opposes IVF as it opposes the process of discarding of embryos.