A team of researchers at Newcastle University, UK has taken another step into the science fiction world by successfully creating a three-parent human embryo. While inheritance lawyers throughout the world toast the birth that could some day launch a million lawsuits, the breakthrough offers more immediate hope for women carrying a number of inheritable diseases.
Genetic defects leading to maladies such as some forms of muscular dystrophy, diabetes and epilepsy are carried in the mitochondrial DNA part of the cell. The scientists were able to extract the nucleus of an embryo produced by a healthy male and a female suffering from defective mitochondrial DNA. This nucleus, containing the DNA that regulates most of human development, was inserted into the egg of another female with normal mitochondrial DNA which had been stripped of its nucleus. The embryo developed normally over the course of the six-day experiment, after which the embryo was destroyed. Similar tests on mice have resulted in normal, healthy micelets.
This weekend, I'll be working on my first children's book, "Heather Has Two Mommies and One Daddy."