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Three-way IVF Could Help Prevent Serious Disorders - and Create Three-Parent Babies

by Rosemary Black,  New York Daily News,  April 15, 2010

Could three-way in-vitro fertilization (IVF) pave the way for babies to have three parents some day? Scientists at Newcastle University have created embryos that hold the DNA of two women and one man, according to BBC News.

The researchers’ goal is to keep damaged DNA contained in the mitochondria in the cell from being passed from the mother to the baby.

The new technique enables the scientists to replace damaged mitochondria - essentially the "batteries" that keep cells functioning - during IVF. In the high-tech procedure, the nuclei from the dad’s sperm and the mom’s egg, which hold the parents’ DNA, are removed, and the defective mitochondria are left behind. The nuclei are then placed into another egg that has had its nucleus removed but that still has its mitochondria.

The brand new embryo has the genes from its parents along with a teensy amount of mitochondrial DNA from the donor egg.

"What we’ve done is like changing the battery on a laptop," lead study author Professor Doug Turnbull told the BBC News. "The energy supply now works properly, but none of the information on the hard drive has been changed." Read more.


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