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Mon Sep 17, 2012, 05:44 AM

UK - 'Three-parent baby' fertility technique could be made legal.

Last edited Mon Sep 17, 2012, 06:17 AM - Edit history (1)


Members of the public are being asked whether families with a genetic risk of incurable conditions like muscular dystrophy should be allowed to use the DNA of a third party to create healthy children.

Although the resulting babies would inherit a small fraction of their DNA from the donor and not their mother or father, the procedure would spare all future generations from a host of rare and debilitating conditions.

The technique is currently forbidden as a treatment, but a public consultation launched today will help inform a decision by Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, on whether the clinical benefits outweigh any ethical concerns.

Experts accept the technique, which involves genetically modifying a human egg or embryo, enters "unchartered territory" and raises serious ethical questions.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9546214/Three-parent-baby-fertility-technique-could-be-made-legal.html


Regulator asks public whether to allow 'three parent families'

Accusations of "medical consumerism" and "scientific fetishism" are levelled at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) today as it seeks the views of the public on the controversial technique known as three-parent IVF.

The procedure, currently banned in the UK, is aimed at helping the estimated 6,000 people who are living with the devastating effects of mitochondrial disease defects in the cell that are inherited but only passed down the maternal line.

But it involves crossing an ethical and scientific boundary because it would alter the human germ line (the genetic contents of the mother's egg) affecting future generations.

Launching a public consultation on the issue, the HFEA said one in 200 births was at risk with 100 babies a year born severely affected by the disease, for which there is no cure.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/regulator-asks-public-whether-to-allow-three-parent-families-8143333.html

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Reply UK - 'Three-parent baby' fertility technique could be made legal. (Original post)
dipsydoodle Sep 2012 OP
GreenPartyVoter Sep 2012 #1
muriel_volestrangler Sep 2012 #2
GreenPartyVoter Sep 2012 #4
Trillo Sep 2012 #6
muriel_volestrangler Sep 2012 #3
dipsydoodle Sep 2012 #5

Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Mon Sep 17, 2012, 07:23 AM

1. If it doesn't hurt the parents or baby, I don't have a problem with it. I suppose there might be an

odd need to keep a "pedigree" in their medical charts though, so they don't accidentally have children with people who share that same DNA? *scratches head*

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Response to GreenPartyVoter (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 17, 2012, 04:30 PM

2. There's no problem with 'sharing DNA with people you have children with'

The nuclear DNA of this child would be taken from one man and one woman, just as normal. The difference is the mitochondrial DNA, which is only inherited from the mother who provides the non-nuclear part of the egg. Normally that's the same as the woman providing half of the nuclear DNA, but in this case it's someone else. But since it only comes from one person, there's no worry about not knowing whose it will mix with. In fact, since it is meant to be an exact copy of a mother's mitochondrial DNA, most people's mtDNA is extremely similar - it's only when there's a copying mistake that you get differences (and a copying mistake will be what has caused the problem in the mtDNA that causes the disease).

On edit: this just means the 'pedigree' you should have in a 'family tree' should be for the woman who provides the nuclear DNA, rather than the one providing the egg which has its nucleus removed. Which would be the one you're generally interested in - nearly all of our inherited characteristics are from nuclear DNA, not mitochondrial.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #2)

Mon Sep 17, 2012, 04:39 PM

4. Thanks for the clarification. That's good to know. (And maybe I did know it once

a long time ago, before my brain got fried! LOL)

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #2)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 09:46 AM

6. Interesting phrase, "copying mistake"

I've been noticing Sodium Benzoate in a lot of foods in the U.S., a lot more foods than just soft drinks. It is alleged to damage mitochondrial DNA. Here's just one reference among many:

The Science of Skinny: Start Understanding Your Body's Chemistry -- And Stop ...

By Dee McCaffrey

Sodium Benzoate

Derived from benzoic acid, sodium benzoate is used as a preservative by the carbonated drinks industry to prevent mold in soft drinks. Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology at Sheffield University who is considered an expert in aging, conducted research to examine the effect of sodium benzoate on the mitochondria DNA in cells. After testing the effect of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells in his laboratory, Professor Piper reported,

These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether. The mitochondria consumes the oxygen needed to produce energy and if it is damaged--as happens in a number of diseased states--then the cell starts to malfunction very seriously. There are now a whole array of diseases that are being tied to this type of damaged DNA--Parkinson's and a host of neurodegenerative diseases, but above all the whole process of aging.



Sodium Benzoate combines with ascorbic acid to make benzene, according to a number of reports. Soft drinks are one highly studied pathway. What seems to be missing from the easy-to-find reports, is what happens when sodium benzoate combines with ascorbic acid in the human body. Vitamin C, one common form of which is ascorbic acid, is considered a needed vitamin which in its dietary absence causes scurvy. It is naturally found in a number of foods, particularly fruits.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Mon Sep 17, 2012, 04:39 PM

3. I don't see a problem with it at all

As long as it can be done as intended - ie the whole nuclear DNA is taken out from one egg, and the whole nuclear DNA of another put into it, then you're just effectively getting 'correctly working mitochondrial DNA' as opposed to 'slightly faulty mtDNA'. And mtDNA is highly similar among us all. If its copying was perfect, we'd all have identical mtDNA anyway.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 17, 2012, 05:57 PM

5. Thanks for the explanation

I could only grasp what the intention was from its intended outcome. I knew of the problems with Huntingdon's Chorea when I was a teenager - a friends wife had passed it to both their sons. Hopefully this would help end that and other inherited diseases.

For anyone who don't know - Woody Guthrie inherited Huntingdons from his mother.

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