Head to head: Should MPs sanction 'three-parent babies?' | Peter Saunders and Geoff Watts

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 03:00 in Biology & Nature

Peter Saunders and Geoff Watts discuss the radical implications of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology ActPeter Saunders: No. This is hype, not real hopeThere are about 50 known mitochondrial diseases, which are passed on in genes coded by mitochondrial (as opposed to nuclear) DNA. They range in severity, but for most there is no cure. It is therefore understandable that scientists and affected families want research into "three-parent embryo" techniques to go ahead. But there are good reasons for caution.To begin with, this is not about finding a cure. It is about preventing people with mitrochondrial disease being born. These new technologies, even if they work, will do nothing for the thousands of people already suffering from these diseases, or for those who will be born with it in the future. And for affected couples there are already alternative solutions, including adoption and egg donation. Apart from this,...

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