Three-Parent Mutant Babies Coming Soon to the U.K.


And I use the term “mutant” as X-Men‘s Magneto would: a superrace that will eventually dominate the rest of humanity. Sort of. Britain has given the OK to “three-parent” fertility treatments that would implant genetically modified embryos into women in order to avoid passing on incurable diseases to their children.

Britain will be the first country in the world to put the technology—which is in research stages in the U.S.—to practice. There are different approaches to three-parent IVF treatments. One, called a maternal spindle transfer, swaps DNA between a mother’s egg and a donor egg, whereas pronuclear transfer swaps DNA between two fertilized eggs. The latter raises ethical concerns, particularly among the pro-life crowd, while others are critical that the methods could lead to “designer babies,” in which parents genetically modify their children’s hair or eye color.

But three-parent IVF is intended to help families with mitochondrial diseases—a group of devastating and incurable disorders (some of which include a rapid decline in function, dementia, hearing loss, visual loss, earning disabilities, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory disorders, neurological problems, autonomic dysfunction, muscle weakness, etc.)—that are passed on through the maternal line. (Ali Simms, one of the twins on Teen Mom 2, is believed to be suffering from some form of the disease.)

To avoid any ethical issues about designer babies, the British government is currently drafting regulations for the treatment that are expected to be published later this year.

Image via Dabarti CGI/Shutterstock

Britain plans world’s first go-ahead for ‘3-parent’ IVF babies [NBC News]

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