Can a baby have three biological parents? Maybe. Britain may allow a controversial technique to create babies using DNA from a mother, father, and a donor. The idea behind it is to help couples from passing on rare genetic diseases. For a woman with faulty mitochondria, scientists take only the healthy genetic material from her egg or embryo. They then transfer that into a donor egg or embryo that still has its healthy mitochondria but has had the rest of its key DNA removed. The fertilized embryo is then transferred into the womb of the mother.
"Scientists have developed groundbreaking new procedures which could stop these diseases being passed on," says Britain's chief medical officer. "It's only right that we look to introduce this life-saving treatment as soon as we can." The move must still be approved by Parliament. Scientists reject the idea that the procedure results in a three-parent baby because the amount of DNA from the donor egg is insignificant. Similar research is going on in the US, where the embryos are not being used to produce children. (Read more Britain stories.)