can babies be born with dna from 3 parents?


Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy (MRT) is a special medical technique used to prevent certain diseases from being passed from a mom to her baby. These diseases are caused by problems in tiny parts of our cells called mitochondria, which help produce energy. Sometimes, the mitochondria can have defects, making people very sick.

How it works

Scientists have come up with a way to give babies healthy mitochondria and prevent these diseases. They take the mom's egg (which has the bad mitochondria) and remove the nucleus (which is like the main library of all the body's instructions). Then, they put this nucleus into another woman's egg, which has healthy mitochondria but no nucleus. This creates a new egg that has healthy power plants (mitochondria) and still carries all the family traits (from the nucleus).

ETHICAL, LEGAL and social concerns

Ethical (Right or Wrong) Concerns:

  1. Changing Genes: MRT changes a baby’s genes in ways that can be passed on to other generations. Some people wonder if it's okay to make these changes, especially since we can't predict all the results.
  2. Three Genetic Parents: A baby with DNA from three people might wonder about their identity and where they fit in their family and society.
  3. Consent: Future babies can't say yes or no to having their genes changed, which raises questions about their rights.
  4. Slippery Slope: There's worry that starting with preventing diseases might lead to picking other traits for babies, like their height or intelligence, which can lead to big debates about what's fair or right.

Legal (Law) Concerns:

  1. Rules: Different countries have different rules about MRT, making it hard to agree on who should be allowed to use it and how to keep it safe.
  2. Family Laws: With three people’s DNA, laws about who is officially a parent might need updates.
  3. Who's Responsible: If something unexpected happens because of MRT, it's not clear who should be responsible.

Social (Society) Concerns:

  1. Who Gets Access: MRT might be expensive, so only people with a lot of money could use it, which isn’t fair to everyone else.
  2. Feeling Different: Kids born through MRT might feel left out or treated differently because of their unique DNA.
  3. Views on Disabilities: There's a conversation about whether we should try to prevent all genetic conditions or learn to support and value everyone's differences.

These issues mean we have to think carefully about how we use MRT, balancing the good it can do against these tricky questions.