In Britain Fertilized Egg DNA Swap Rids Bad Mitochondria

‘Cloning’ E.W.Powell 24/3/2009. Painting completed 2003.RedTracker| Britain is assessing a new fertility treatment in which babies would be conceived from three biological parents, in an effort to swap out faulty DNA. The decision is expected to take a year.

Scientists at Newcastle University have the capability of intervening in the fertilisation process to remove malfunctioning DNA in the biological mother’s eggs. Mitochondria are the ‘batteries’ of cells and they are only inherited from the mother.

About one in 6,500 children are born with malfunctioning mitochondrial DNA causing fatal heart problems, liver failure, brain disorders, blindness and other severe health problems. The new process, a variation of the technique used to produce Dolly the cloned sheep in 1996, allows doctors to replant sperm and egg that have united into a donor egg, whose own nucleus has been removed and discarded.

The resulting embryo inherits nuclear DNA, or genes, from both its parents, but mitochondrial DNA from a second “mother” who donated the healthy egg. In humans, about 37 genes are found in the mitochondria, while the rest of the more than 20,000 known genes are in the DNA found in the nucleus. via NewsDaily