UK to get world`s first three-parent babies by 2015

Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei

London: Earlier, there were reports that UK may become the first country in the world to allow a controversial IVF technique that creates babies using DNA from three people, to prevent parents from passing on serious mitochondrial diseases to their children.

Now, the UK government on Tuesday has finally given its nod to make the process legal across the country and the first three-parent baby can be born in Britain by next year.

Mitochondrial disease is passed from a mother to her children through faults in the mitochondrial DNA. While there is no cure for this condition, it is estimated that 1 in 6,500 children are born every year in the UK with a serious mitochondrial DNA disorder.

The defect lies in so-called mitochondria, the “power houses” of cells. To get rid of defective mitochondria, the nucleus of one egg cell has to be transferred to another egg cell bearing intact mitochondria.

According to BBC, the controversial IVF method will use father's sperm and eggs from the mother and another woman who has healthy mitochondria. The process involves creating two separate embryos by fertilising the sperm with eggs collected from the two women.

Mitochondria are cell organelles responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth.

Diseases such as diabetes, stroke, cardiac defects, respiratory complications, epilepsy, or muscle weakness may originate from mitochondrial defects.

Since, the British government has given a go-ahead for the three-parent babies, the new regulations are expected to come into effect in next few months.

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