Feb. 6, 2008
While the Canadians have taken the legal route to claiming that a child can have three "parents," British scientists are taking it a step further. Researchers at Newcastle University have now created an embryo (a.k.a. human being) that contains the DNA from three separate parents:
They experimented on 10 severely abnormal embryos left over from traditional fertility treatment.
Within hours of their creation, the nucleus, containing DNA from the mother and father, was removed from the embryo, and implanted into a donor egg whose DNA had been largely removed.
The only genetic information remaining from the donor egg was the tiny bit that controls production of mitochondria - around 16,000 of the 3billion component parts that make up the human genome.
The embryos then began to develop normally, but were destroyed within six days.
This all done, of course, in hopes of preventing diseases caused by genetic defects (fatal liver failure, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, etc.). However, the notion that this takes us one step closer to assembly-line human beings seems to be lost in the hard-charge toward technological advancement. Also lost is the fact that this search for a cure for disease in human beings involves killing human beings.
The cure is deadlier than the disease.