Ethical implications of three-parent children

| | December 20, 2013
article BB BAFD x
Image via The Daily Mail.
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

In today’s world, children often have three parents. A boy’s mother and father might divorce, and one remarries. A girl might be raised by a single mother, a cousin, and an aunt. But everybody, without exception, has two biological parents. For the moment, at least.

Through a process known as mitochondrial replacement, scientists are now able to combine genetic information from the eggs of two different women and create a brand new egg. They would then fertilize this engineered egg with sperm from a third parent, creating a child with three biological parents for the first time in human history.

The United Kingdom is on the verge of permitting scientists to move forward with this procedure to create a human child from the DNA of three adults. The United States may not be far behind.  Mothers everywhere should be deeply concerned, as this raises numerous ethical questions.

According to researchers, this would be done for therapeutic purposes to help women with certain mitochondrial defects avoid passing on those defects, which can cause damage to the heart, liver, brain, and kidneys, among other parts of the body.  Damaged DNA of the mother-to-be would be replaced by the healthy DNA of another woman.  But here’s the tricky part: the genetic changes would show up in every cell of a child born after such a procedure. Not only that: they would be passed on to all descendants of the girls in whom the change is made. MR is a form of germ-line engineering, or inheritable genetic modification, and it involves manipulating genes to try to determine the traits of future children.

Read the full, original post: The Three-Parent Dilemma

Additional Resources:

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
a a b b a f ac a

Video: Death by COVID: The projected grim toll in historical context

The latest statistics, as of July 10, show COVID-19-related deaths in U.S. are just under 1,000 per day nationally, which is ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
types of oak trees

Infographic: Power of evolution? How oak trees came to dominate North American forests

Over the course of some 56 million years, oaks, which all belong to the genus Quercus, evolved from a single undifferentiated ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend