UK first in world to legalize '3-person DNA' babies to curb genetic disorders
- British lawmakers in the House of Commons on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted to pass a bill that would legalize the creation of babies with DNA from three people (two women and one man).
- Once the bill goes through a final vote in the House of Lords, the UK will become the first nation in the world to legalize the groundbreaking fertilization technique.
- The use of third-party DNA during the in-vitro fertilization process is meant to prevent female carriers of severe genetic mitochondrial disorders from passing them on to future generations. In fact, once the DNA is modified (using just 0.1% of the third-party donor's genetic material), the mitochondrial abnormality will be fixed entirely in the child and won't reappear in future generations.
Members of Parliament got emotional on Tuesday when debating the bill, with supporters calling the technique a "light at the end of a dark tunnel" for families and parents who could pass on severe genetic disorders that may cause everything from brain damage to heart failure and blindness. The BBC reports that proponents of the bill included women like Sharon Bernardi, whose seven children all died from mitochondrial abnormalities.
Critics warned that society may not be prepared to face the full consequences of the technology (although the law is limited in scope and doesn't allow for the creation of "designer babies"). But with the new law in place, the first three-person baby could be coming into this world as soon as next year.