Three-person IVF could fight disease

Might help moms with genetic disorders have healthy kids

Scientists at Newcastle University in the UK have made embryos with DNA from a man and two women, a technique that could help mothers with rare genetic disorders have healthy kids, they say. Published in the journal Nature, their research’s goal is to prevent damaged DNA in mitochondria, which powers the cell, from being passed on by the mother, the BBC reports. While IVF clinics aren’t currently allowed to carry out the procedure, about one in 200 kids is born each year with mutations in mitochondrial DNA; in most cases, it results in only mild disease that sometimes does not have symptoms. But about one in 6,500 kids is born with mitochondrial disease, which can cause sometimes fatal conditions, like muscular weakness, blindness and heart failure. The Newcastle team made a total of 80 embryos, cultured for up to eight days in the lab, and is planning further studies.


Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.