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UK becomes first country to license 3 parent babies

London: Britain became the first country to formally licence an in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment designed to create babies from three people. UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) gave the final go-ahead for the treatment known as mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT), which doctors say can help prevent incurable inherited diseases. The treatment is informally called “three-parent” IVF because the babies, born from genetically modified embryos, would have DNA from a mother, a father and from a female donor.

MRT is designed to prevent mitochondrial diseases from being passed on by replacing the mother’s defective mitochondria with those from a healthy donor. The resulting baby would have the usual 23 pairs of chromosomes from both parents, but with mitochondria from the healthy donor. The procedure also raises ethical concerns. Because the genetic manipulation affects all of the cells in the embryo, any glitches the procedure might introduce could potentially be passed down to future generations.

The decision means the first babies created by the technique in the UK could be born as early as 2017. The government’s chief scientific adviser, Mark Walport, praised the decision as a “careful and considered” assessment.

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The world’s first “three-parent” baby was born in September this year in Mexico. agencies

Source: Agencies
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