Scientists Create Embryos From DNA of Three People

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

Scientists in the UK created – and destroyed – eighty embryos containing the DNA from a man and two women.

London’s Sun is reporting that researchers at Newcastle University were attempting to prevent damaged DNA in mitochondria – which is described as the “batteries” that power cells – from being passed onto offspring. The purpose of the research is to create a way in which couples with genetic disorders can bear healthy children.

“They removed nuclei from the sperm and egg of affected couples, leaving behind the mitochondria,” explains the Sun. “The nuclei were put into one of the fertilised eggs left over after other women had IVF treatment. This egg had its nuclei removed – but retained its healthy mitochondria.”

The result was the creation of 80 embryos containing the DNA of three people. They were all destroyed after eight days because UK law requires special permits to culture embryos for longer periods. 

“What we’ve done is like changing the battery on a laptop,” said lead researcher Professor Doug Turnbull. 

Josephine Quintavalle, of the pro-life group, Comments on Reproductive Ethics, is against the research. “They are creating a child with two mothers. We have to find better ways to cure diseases.”

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