Controversial in-vitro genetic procedure may get green light in - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Controversial in-vitro genetic procedure may get green light in Britain

Posted: Updated:
  • More newsMore>>

  • Official: 3 bodies retrieved from inside ferry

    Official: 3 bodies retrieved from inside ferry

    Saturday, April 19 2014 3:52 PM EDT2014-04-19 19:52:12 GMT
    The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea, leaving more than 300 missing or dead, was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into...More >>
    A coast guard official says divers retrieved three bodies from inside a ferry that sunk off South Korea, raising the confirmed death toll to 36 with more than 265 people still missing, most of them high school students on...More >>
  • Montgomery native wins Ancil Payne journalism award

    Montgomery native wins Ancil Payne journalism award

    Saturday, April 19 2014 3:50 PM EDT2014-04-19 19:50:55 GMT
    A Montgomery native and former student at St. James High School has won the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism. Mazie Bryant, who is the editor-in-chief of the University of Alabama's CrimsonMore >>
    A Montgomery native and former student at St. James High School has won the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism.More >>
  • Creeping landslide devouring part of Wyoming town

    Creeping landslide devouring part of Wyoming town

    Saturday, April 19 2014 3:43 PM EDT2014-04-19 19:43:28 GMT
    A sudden lurch in a creeping landslide in the northwest Wyoming resort town of Jackson split a house in two and forced workers to abandon efforts to stabilize the hillside.More >>
    No one can say when the mountainside collapsing into this Wyoming resort town will give way. But it appears increasingly likely that when it does, it's going to take a piece of Jackson with it.More >>

A controversial procedure to prevent rare genetic defects from being passed on to a baby could soon be permitted in Britain.

The new techniques help women with faulty mitochondria, the energy source in a cell, from passing on defects that can result in such diseases as muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, heart problems and mental retardation.

Scientists take only the healthy genetic material from an egg or embryo. They then transfer that into a donor egg or embryo that still has its healthy mitochondria, but has the rest of its key DNA removed.

"There isn't any treatment, any cure for patients with mitochondrial disease. What we are trying to do is trying to prevent the transmission from mother to child," said Professor Doug Turnbull of Newcastle University.

Nicola Parker, a mitochondrial disease patient herself, said, "You want the best for your child and if they can stop these genetics, like hereditary genetic conditions being passed on, that's all well and good, that's just an excellent thing."

Some groups oppose artificial reproduction techniques and believe the destruction of eggs or embryos to be immoral.

Geneticist Dr. David King said an ethical line was being crossed. 

"Once we cross that line we will inevitably, step by step, slowly, get to that future that everybody wants to avoid, of genetically modified designer babies and a market in children," he said.

British tabloids jumped on the procedure when it was first announced in 2008 and labeled it the creation of a three-parent baby: the mother, the donor, and the father.

That charge, say scientists, is inaccurate because the amount of DNA from the donor egg is insignificant.

"The issue is we're not trying to change how people are, we're not touching the nuclear DNA which comes from both parents, makes us look as we are, act as we are, be as we are, it's about the power supply, the energy for the cell and only that," claims Dr. Sally Davies, Britain's chief medical officer.

Similar research is going on in the United States, where the embryos are not being used to produce children.

If British lawmakers agree, the UK would become the first country in the world where the technique could be used to create babies. Experts say the procedures would likely be only used in about a dozen women every year.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

 

Powered by WorldNow