DNA Swap - The future of lesbian parenting?
US scientists have produced the first monkeys with genetic material from two mothers, as reported by Nature journal on Wednesday.
Looking for ways that would help women with some inherited diseases have healthy children, the US researchers developed and applied on monkeys a technique for transferring genetic material from one egg cell to another, which would prevent the inheritance of diseases caused by faults in the DNA of mitochondria.
The researchers have produced the first four monkeys with three genetic parents, using the nuclear DNA of one mother, and the mitochondrial DNA of another in eggs fertilized with sperm and implanted into females.
“We believe this technique can be applied pretty quickly to humans and believe it will work,’’ said Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland.
The scientist also believe this technique could help many families in stopping the genetic transmission of a variety of disorders caused by defects in genetic material known as mitochondrial DNA.
However, this research raised several ethical and legal issues like violating a longstanding taboo by altering families' genes or a rise to a market in elective genetic enhancements which will need to be balanced against the potential benefits.
Undoubtedly, the main benefit is the ability to fix the defects in the mitochondrial DNA which may cause rare disorders and can sometimes be involved in more common disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases.
Furthermore, this technique could be of great benefit to lesbian couples who want children. Carrying the DNA of both their mothers, these children could eventually give a deeper stability to the couple and a more solid legal status to both mothers.
Read the article on Nature's website for more information.
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