Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Three-parent embryo formed in lab

BBC News reports that a Newcastle University team created embryos from 3 parents

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.

for most of us who work in the field this experiment is no news at all since this is very similar work that was carried out in 2002 called Ooplasmic Transfer also known as Cytoplasm Transfer for the purpose of egg rejuvenating. Sadly the FDA put an end to this excellent and promising work.So once again the US government hampers US research and allows the brits to take over . This is exactly what happened with the first IVF . If you have time check out this brilliant link to PBS on The First IVF and discover how we missed an opportunity.

Ultimately this is work of great interest because it represents an example of human genetic engineering that is applicable and because it is for now limited in it's scope to the treatment of "orphan" (rare) conditions such as mitochondrial diseases .

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