Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Three Parent Embryos Created

Three Parent Embryos Created - Again! Tuesday, 05 February 2008 Ten human embryos each containing the DNA from one man and two women have been created in a project that within three years could lead to the first genetically altered babies being born in Britain. The aim is to treat mitochondrial disorders, inherited diseases that can include fatal liver failure, stroke-like episodes, mental retardation with intractable epilepsy, muscle weakness, diabetes and deafness. All cells of the body have many (typically 1000-10,000) mitochondria. Mitochondria are tiny energy-producing structures ('organelles', the cell's equivalent to organs of the body) vital to cell function. If they malfunction then organs will eventually fail. The mitochondria are transmitted to the next generation through eggs, but not via the sperm, so mitochondrial defects are only inherited from the mother. The Newcastle team would take a one-day old IVF embryo from a couple at risk of mitochondrial disease, when the DNA cargoes from the sperm and egg are still separate and sit in structures called pronuclei. Then they would remove these pronuclei and insert them into an emptied egg from a second woman, which contains healthy mitochondria. The resulting early embryo would contain DNA from the parents in the nucleus, plus the mitochondria from the egg donor. If implanted back into the mother and a girl were born in this way, the inserted mitochondria would be passed to future generations to free them of potentially deadly disorders, too. Boys would not pass on the implanted mitochondria, because sperm do not contain mitochondria. Professor Patrick Chinnery, a member of the Newcastle team, said: "We believe that from this work, and work we have done on other animals that in principle we could develop this technique and offer treatment in the foreseeable future that will give families some hope of avoiding passing these diseases to their children." This procedure has been performed successfully previously (see Three Parent Embryo’s Created, CellNEWS - Wednesday, 15 October 2003). Articles: Transplant creates embryos with three parents Telegraph - Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 05/02/2008 Three-parent embryo formed in lab BBC - Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 11:13 GMT Scientists create three-parent embryos Reuters - Tue Feb 5, 2008 11:17am EST ......... ZenMaster
For more on stem cells and cloning, go to CellNEWS at http://www.geocities.com/giantfideli/index.html

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