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Britain Lays Foundation to Create 3-Parent Baby

Britain Working to Create 3-Parent Baby

In a somewhat controversial move, Britain has given the green light to allow IVF treatment to create a three-parent baby, Business Insider reports.

Using mitochondrial replacement therapy for parents at risk of having a child with severe disabilities, the nucleus of the egg from a mother with damaged DNA would be replaced with the material from a healthy donor. Then the egg could be implanted and fertilized using standard IVF techniques. The baby thus would inherit its identity from its mother and father, and would gain mitochondria from the donor, the news agency explains.

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"The process avoids the risk of the mother passing inherited defects, which can lead to a host of rare and debilitating conditions affecting the heart, muscles, and brain, on to her children," Business Insider says. However, "the technique is controversial because it involves 'germ line' modification of the embryo's DNA, meaning the third party's genetic material would not only be passed on to the child, but also to future generations down the female line."

Britain's ministers are expected to publish draft regulations on allowing this IVF therapy later this year. And if the regulations receive the public's and Parliament’s approval next year, the world's first "three-parent baby" could be born in 2015.

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