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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News
 

 

October 24 - Oregon scientists make embryos with 2 women, 1 man

Article: Cloning And Genetic Engineering

Scientists in Oregon have created embryos with genes from one man and two women, using a provocative technique that could someday be used to prevent babies from inheriting certain rare incurable diseases.

The researchers at Oregon Health & Sciences University said they are not using the embryos to produce children, and it is not clear when or even if this technique will be put to use. But it has already stirred a debate over its risks and ethics in Britain, where scientists did similar work a few years ago.

The British experiments, reported in 2008, led to headlines about the possibility someday of babies with three parents. But that's an overstatement. The DNA from the second woman amounts to less than 1 percent of the embryo's genes, and it isn't the sort that makes a child look like Mom or Dad. The procedure is simply a way of replacing some defective genes that sabotage the normal workings of cells.

Questions have also arisen about the safety of the technique, not only for the baby who results from the egg, but also for the child's descendants.

Mitalipov said in an interview that the researchers hope to get federal approval to test the procedure in women, but that current restrictions on using federal money on human embryo research stand in the way of such studies.

Dr. Douglass Turnbull of Newcastle University in Britain, whose team has transplanted DNA between eggs using a different technique, called the new research "very important and encouraging" in showing that such transplants could work. But "clearly, safety is an issue" with either technique if it is applied to humans, he said.

 
 

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