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UK Government Backs Three-Person IVF

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the US-republicans-introduce-defense-of-test-tubes-act dept.

Medicine 132

Dupple writes "The U.K. looks set to become the first country to allow the creation of babies using DNA from three people, after the government backed the in vitro fertilization technique. It will produce draft regulations later this year and the procedure could be offered within two years. Experts say three-person IVF could eliminate debilitating and potentially fatal mitochondrial diseases that are passed on from mother to child. Opponents say it is unethical and could set the UK on a 'slippery slope.' They also argue that affected couples could adopt or use egg donors instead. Mitochondria are the tiny, biological 'power stations' that give the body energy. They are passed from a mother, through the egg, to her child. Defective mitochondria affect one in every 6,500 babies. This can leave them starved of energy, resulting in muscle weakness, blindness, heart failure and death in the most extreme cases."

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How many chromosones to bake up a new baby? (1, Offtopic)

Deekin_Scalesinger (755062) | about a year ago | (#44137593)

Survey says......69!

Sensational headlines: A little perspective here. (5, Informative)

Guppy (12314) | about a year ago | (#44138161)

How many chromosones to bake up a new baby?

What the article fails to mention, is that the mitochondrial genome contributed by the "3rd parent" is about 16,600 bp in size, or less than 0.00052% of the total human genome.

Re:Sensational headlines: A little perspective her (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44138809)

the mitochondrial genome contributed by the "3rd parent" is about 16,600 bp in size, or less than 0.00052% of the total human genome.

So? All it takes is a single gene to produce an adverse effect because existing mechanisms provide no negative feedback for it.

Big deal (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about a year ago | (#44140585)

So what? We all know the mitochondria are what instill the powers of the Force so IMHO they are the most important 0.00052%!

Re:How many chromosones to bake up a new baby? (1)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#44138359)

Survey says......69!

Hmm, I don't think 69 will bake up a new baby...
Also, mitochonrida don't really have a chromosome...

At long last (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44137599)

We move to three biological genders: male, female, and unaffiliated.

Re:At long last (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about a year ago | (#44137901)

When men can donate eggs, "unaffiliated" will make sense.

Re:At long last (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44137919)

We move to three biological genders: male, female, and unaffiliated

Hijra? [wikipedia.org]

Re:At long last (1)

commodore73 (967172) | about a year ago | (#44138453)

Why a banana in the photo?

Who says scientists don't get action? (1)

crvtec (921881) | about a year ago | (#44137625)

Now they'll have more threesomes than anyone...

Re:Who says scientists don't get action? (1)

commodore73 (967172) | about a year ago | (#44138409)

I should have been a doctor.

Re:Who says scientists don't get action? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44139623)

Only the female scientists who can donate eggs will really get in on the action though.

Aldous say (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#44137631)

Zippicamiknicks for all!

Slippery Slope? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44137713)

C'mon! There's a sex joke in there somewhere! Who has one?

Re:Slippery Slope? (3, Funny)

decipher_saint (72686) | about a year ago | (#44137905)

Science discovered a way to make a three-way boring

Re:Slippery Slope? (2)

godel_56 (1287256) | about a year ago | (#44137971)

Science discovered a way to make a three-way boring

It isn't slippery, that's the problem.

Re:Slippery Slope? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140087)

Slipped and fell into a threesome

Unethical (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44137715)

Unethical - adj. A word describing anything I don't like that makes me feel bad regardless of whether I have actually considered the thing in question.

Re:Unethical (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44138081)

May I steal that bit? It's one of the best definitions I've ever read.

Re:Unethical (1, Insightful)

Ultracrepidarian (576183) | about a year ago | (#44140081)

When eukaryotes invented 2 way sex 1.2 Billion years ago, it was considered controversial too.

easy non-controversial fix (1)

Yohahn (8680) | about a year ago | (#44137723)

If it's so controversial, why not just get the mitochondrial dna from the father?

Re:easy non-controversial fix (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44137789)

Technical reasons, you can't just swap mitochondria, they probably need an egg cell (and swap the nucleus). So the donor needs to be female. A sister of the father would do :)

Re:easy non-controversial fix (0)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44138099)

A sister of the father would do :)

Apparently, the opponents screaming "bloody unethical" got your sentence reshuffled as "The father would do a sister".

Re:easy non-controversial fix (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44137797)

If it's so controversial, why not just get the mitochondrial dna from the father?

Because it's not easy. This method (see article) uses an egg from one women, an egg nucleus from another women and sperm from a man. If you can get the father to produce an egg then you're easy non-controversial fix just might work.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44137823)

The nuclear DNA from the egg with the dodgy mDNA is transferred into a donor egg with healthy mDNA. I presume there are reasons you can't replace the mDNA in an egg from another source. Maybe it doesn't survive outside a cell.

Replacing mitochondria (3, Informative)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#44138469)

The reason is that the nucleus of a cell is relatively huge. Mitochondria are 'almost' independent living cells wholly contained within our cells, and each has it's own DNA. But they're small compared to the nucleus.

Roughly speaking, it'd be like the difference between removing the pit of a cherry vs trying to remove every seed out of a watermelon the size of a cherry.

Re:Replacing mitochondria (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44138843)

Roughly speaking, it'd be like the difference between removing the pit of a cherry vs trying to remove every seed out of a watermelon the size of a cherry.

Hmm... once more please, with cars instead of fruit?

Re:Replacing mitochondria (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44139067)

In one case it's like taking the radio from a car and fitting it to another one. In the other it's like building a new car around the radio.

Re:Replacing mitochondria (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#44139241)

Hmm...

One's replacing the program chip in the car, the other is converting it from gasoline to diesel. ;)

Re:easy non-controversial fix (3, Interesting)

commodore73 (967172) | about a year ago | (#44137865)

What's controversial to me is choosing to have a baby with defects.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44138065)

What's controversial to me is choosing to have a baby with defects.

Ah, but that's a 100% natural form of child abuse, and we all know that things that are natural are good for us!

Re:easy non-controversial fix (2)

commodore73 (967172) | about a year ago | (#44138173)

Watch the daily show from last night to see what unnatural things are natural. And I didn't mean any offense to anyone who has children with "defects". It's just a choice I would have trouble making.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44138221)

Certainly, I'm not inclined to blame people hit by previously-unknown or very low probability issues. That would be as cruel as it is illogical. It's the ones who knowingly act in the face of alarmingly high odds of ghastly outcomes who creep me out.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (2)

commodore73 (967172) | about a year ago | (#44138365)

One thing that worries me is that this choice seems to be on the rise, especially with Downs Syndrome (possibly due to the trend of more births late in life, where that lateness reduces the chances of another successful pregnancy). I see it everywhere now in the progressive community in which I live. I would go so far as to speculate that in centuries past, child sacrifice may have been nature's way of dealing with such defects. Humans that would not have survived in the natural world are kept alive in our increasingly artificial world. Nice talking to you.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44138135)

What's controversial to me is choosing to have a baby with defects.

Yeah, but the parents don't always know the baby will turn out ot be a /. "editor".

(j/k)

Re:easy non-controversial fix (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44138423)

What's controversial to me is choosing to have a baby with defects.

Agreed. Going to these extremes to avoid adopting one of the tens of thousands of existing children who need families is a symptom of mental illness. It's beyond unethical.

But it's a form of mental illness that is likely to become more prevalent, given the basic mechanics of human reproduction. And it ain't exactly rare right now.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44140925)

Going to these extremes to avoid adopting one of the tens of thousands of existing children who need families is a symptom of mental illness.

I'm not sure. Adoption is a complicated and lengthy process, you're going to be scrutinized ruthlessly if you're going for it. In case of a fertility treatment, or even a complicated procedure such as this, you're just one of many biological parents of this world.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44138521)

What's controversial to me is choosing to have a baby with defects.

Speaking as someone married to a brilliant, wonderful 40-year-old woman with spina bifida (whose mother saw fit to carry her to term despite doctors saying she would be severely retarded, never walk, and probably not see her third birthday) -- fuck you.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44138579)

No. You miss the point. If your wife's mother had the option to have her child treated in utero which would mean she would not have spina bifida, and yet chose not to have that treatment with the full knowledge that her child would be born with SB...would you be upset at her mother?

Re:easy non-controversial fix (1, Troll)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44140929)

Anecdotal evidence. Just because one child with a severe medical condition turned out right doesn't mean that diagnosing it in utero isn't a strong suggestion that "try again" would most likely bring into the world an equally brilliant person, only with fewer medical problems and with better quality of life.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (2)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year ago | (#44138601)

What's controversial to me is choosing to have a baby with defects.

What's controversial to me is why you or anyone else care what choice people make when dealing with the very personal issue of which children they choose to have.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44138705)

Because my taxes pay for services for them? Because the world has finite resources? Because having children is selfish in and of itself?

Re:easy non-controversial fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44138735)

Because there are so many children that need adoption?

Re:easy non-controversial fix (0)

commodore73 (967172) | about a year ago | (#44138911)

I don't me seeing something as controversial as controversial. Explain to me how having a child with issues is better for the world, for the parents, or for me than having or adopting a child without? I predict no response.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140593)

You sound like you have a retarded baby...

Re:easy non-controversial fix (0)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#44140861)

You are using emotional language to obscure the point. That is not a good thing. I shall re-use the same emotional language to illustrate the absurdity of it:

What's controversial to me is why you or anyone else care what choice people make when dealing with the very personal issue of who to abdut, torture and murder.

The thing is: it's irrelevant that it's a "very personal issue". We as a society have decided that you're not free to do what you want to other people. This is fair enough because other people generally want a say in the matter of what's done to them. The thing is if children are people, then that necessarily includes childern.

Now I will make a continum and see where you fall.

Most people (and I suspect you) would object to parents murdering their child.

Likewise torturing their child

Likewise intentionally having the child who will spend its life in agony.

Likewise intentionally having the child who will spend its life in substantial discomfort.

Likewise intentionally having the child who will be disabled

etc.

TL;DR you can't do what you want to people, your children are no exception.

Define defect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44138781)

First you have to define "defect", after all "defects" are what made us here today, (i'am not disagreeing with your main point btw.) perfection is a variable not a static

Re:easy non-controversial fix (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44139089)

What's controversial (and also amusing) to me is why you think that's the case here?

Hint: the second mother's DNA isn't there for teh lulz.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (1)

commodore73 (967172) | about a year ago | (#44139147)

Wha...? Reread the summary and what I wrote. It's the opposite of your interpretation.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44139663)

Yes, and this only helps with the tiny fraction of genetic diseases that are due to defective mitochondria. But maybe some day, we'll be able to deal with other diseases in a similar fashion. Pick out the chromosome that contains the defective gene, replace it with a normal chromosome from the other parent who does not have the genetic disease. Or pull a good chromosome from an unrelated person (safer, because a matched set of chromosomes can bring recessive defects out of the woodwork).

Re:easy non-controversial fix (1)

commodore73 (967172) | about a year ago | (#44139773)

Or just adopt.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44139921)

Or just adopt.

I won't propose technical solutions to your social problems if you don't propose social solutions to my technical problems.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (1)

commodore73 (967172) | about a year ago | (#44140017)

I would appreciate any solutions to my social problems.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (0)

pesho (843750) | about a year ago | (#44137921)

If it's so controversial, why not just get the mitochondrial dna from the father?

Whatever you do there will always be people that will say it is controversial, because of the proverbial slippery slope that will appear at some point in the undefined future. In this case, it is supposed top put us on the path to designer babies. Well it doesn't. This is not targeted manipulation of the genetic content. It is nuclear transfer, similar to what is already a wide spread and well accepted in vitro fertilization procedure. Sure you can isolate mitochnodria from the father and place them in the egg. However this will add complexity to the procedure without producing better outcome. In fact, is is very likely to produce significantly worse outcome. This is because you can transfer only small amount of mitochondria compared to what is already in the egg. As the egg divides the chances are that you will end up with a number of cells that don't carry enough of the father's mitochondria, because mitochondria unlike chromosomes are distributed stochastically between the daughter cells.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44139731)

Nuclear transfer is not currently used in IVF. They harvest the eggs, they fertilize the eggs, and then implant the most viable looking candidates.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140077)

I should have said "intracytoplasmic sperm injections", not nuclear transfer.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44137967)

Probably because sperm has about 1000x less than an egg and it's programmed to self destruct.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44138163)

The source/lineage of the mtDNA isn't the controversy. The controversy is many-fold.

First up, a donor embryo is sacrificed in the procedure. You can imagine what groups don't like that.

Second, the procedure is remarkably similar to cloning. All sorts of people aren't so sure about that.

Finally, it's highly experimental. If something goes odd, the child may (or may not) have to live with it for a long time. Teasing a nucleus out of one cell and sticking it in another is a bit disruptive to say the least.

You missed one. (1, Insightful)

Medievalist (16032) | about a year ago | (#44138505)

It's shameful to waste resources on this when the same money could've been used to help increase the adoption rate and to sponsor adoptions. There are children already alive who need parents, no need to make more.

I just don't understand these poor sad people who are so self-obsessed that they think they can only love a child that carries their own DNA.

Re:You missed one. (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#44140885)

The adoption rate is just fine: for healthy babies.

Basically *healthy* *babies* basically always get adopted and there is actually a very long waiting list for them.

Drug addicted babies aren't nearly so popular. The thing is a baby suffering from foetal alcohol syndrome is basically fucked. The chances are (and the chances are high) that they will end up as an alcoholic later in life, and no amount of perental help will prevent it. Likewise they are likely to have serious behavioural problems.

The prognosis for other drugs is similar.

I can see why people don't want to let themselves in for a lifetime of pain in that regard.

And again, adopting older kids is fraught with much more serious problems for a variety of reasons.

It's not the DNA thing it's that people want a child they can bring up from the beginning. And I can see why.

Re:easy non-controversial fix (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44139643)

Because what they really need is a whole cell. Pulling mitochondria from a somatic cell and putting it in an egg is probably possible, but they haven't worked that out yet.

For that matter, a human egg may not be necessary. Maybe they can use bonobo eggs. Bonobos like to get it on.

Children of lesbian couples? (1)

Myria (562655) | about a year ago | (#44137743)

Could this be used by lesbian couples in the future to have babies that are biological children of both parents? Obviously, such children would always be daughters, but I'm curious whether this sort of technique would help them.

Re: Children of lesbian couples? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44137775)

Already possible? That's just two people. This is three, and would allow a lesbian couple to have a biological child with a Y chromosome lent by a third party, so they could have a son.

Not yet. (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about a year ago | (#44138005)

Already possible? That's just two people. This is three, and would allow a lesbian couple to have a biological child with a Y chromosome lent by a third party, so they could have a son.

The technology to pick and choose single chromosomes out of one nucleus to replace a chromosome in another nucleus simply does not exist and may not for quite some time since DNA does not wrap itself up neatly into little X's until cellular division. No, the techniques involved are far cruder than that.

Similarly, the technology to combine two egg nuclei into a single, viable diploid cell also does not yet exist.

Re: Children of lesbian couples? (0)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44138093)

Now, why would dykes want a guy in their life?

(go ahead, I got karma to burn on this tasteless joke)

Re:Children of lesbian couples? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#44137781)

Could this be used by lesbian couples in the future to have babies that are biological children of both parents?

No.

On the other hand, it might be a step in that direction, as well as in the more general direction of "any two people" can produce a child (as long as you're not too picky about your mitochondrial DNA)

Re:Children of lesbian couples? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#44138053)

Offhand it seems like it would be easier to produce a child from one parent (a clone) than from two women or two men, since in that case there is no essential difference between what each partner brings to the table.

Re:Children of lesbian couples? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44138217)

If I understand correctly, this process uses two women and a man. One woman donates the egg with half a genome, the donor male provides the other half and the second woman provides the mitochondrial DNA.

Re:Children of lesbian couples? (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44137857)

That depends how you define "biological children" - mDNA is a separate string of genetic code that does one specific thing. AFAIK it has no effect on physical or mental attributes (except those that might be affected by the problems caused by faulty mDNA). So no, it won't help lesbian couples - there still has to be a daddy, so far.

Re:Children of lesbian couples? (1)

similar_name (1164087) | about a year ago | (#44138351)

except those that might be affected by the problems caused by faulty mDNA

If 'faulty' mtDNA can cause problems then mtDNA has an effect. It produce's ATP which gives our cells energy. Conceptually, if a gene can be 'faulty' it only means it can mutate and if it can mutate in can evolve. Consider, if you had the most efficient mtDNA for producing ATP. Now, if a person is born that produces ATP slightly more efficiently will your genes now be 'faulty'? Of course not. In other words, differences in mtDNA might account for people who naturally have lots of energy versus those that don't.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that if a 'faulty' gene can cause a noticeable difference then so can a change in the gene. Genes aren't really faulty. They're just different and either they keep copying or they don't.

Re:Children of lesbian couples? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44138839)

If 'faulty' mtDNA can cause problems then mtDNA has an effect.

Well, what I was trying to get at was that I don't see an mtDNA donor being any more a biological parent than, say, a bone marrow donor. The kid isn't going to have Mummy's eyes, Daddy's smile, and mtMummy's nose. What's more, if the kid's a boy, the mtDNA donor's contribution to the family gene pool ends with him.

Re:Children of lesbian couples? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44139727)

He's going to have Mummy's eyes, Daddy's smile and mtDNA donor's energy.

Re:Children of lesbian couples? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44139689)

So aside from making your body work at all, it's totally superfluous... The truth is, we have little clue if different mitochondrial cells have effects physical or mental attributes. But if I had to bet, I'd bet that they do because they're all over the cell doing shit.

Re:Children of lesbian couples? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44138133)

Could this be used by lesbian couples in the future to have babies that are biological children of both parents? Obviously, such children would always be daughters, but I'm curious whether this sort of technique would help them.

"Parethenogenesis" [wikipedia.org] , in mammals, is still very much in the lab. If memory serves, they've gotten some rabbits and a few mice, and some human demo cells(either not allowed to, or unable to develop past very early stages). I don't think anybody suspects it of being fundamentally intractable; but you can't exactly head down to the local fertility clinic and get it done.

Re:Children of lesbian couples? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44139675)

No, because egg+egg doesn't make an embryo. I don't think scientists know why yet.

engineering for excellence (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44137751)

can we just stop the BS and start creating the master race now,
also KHAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNN

Re:engineering for excellence (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44137963)

It has already been done. If you are unaware of this, then you know that you are not a member.

I don't mind (2, Insightful)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year ago | (#44137809)

This at all, but there are many, many desperate children that feel so hopeless and lonely right now in some orphanage, that really do need someones love. I hope more people give thought to that, rather than the ever over-population of our Mother Earth.

Re:I don't mind (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44137913)

Sure, just lobby the government to let my wife, who suffers from mild (and totally treated) bipolar disorder adopt, and we'd think about stopping IVF cycles.

Re:I don't mind (5, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44137979)

there are many, many desperate children that feel so hopeless and lonely right now in some orphanage

Adoption in many countries is very difficult, and plenty of potential parents do not qualify. My wife and I are financially secure, and are very successfully raising two of our own kids. But we had room in our home and our hearts for at least one more, and looked into adoption. We were turned down. The reasons given were that we were too old (I am in my 50s and my wife is in her 40s), and we already have kids of our own, and childless couples would be given priority.

If there really are orphanages full of desperate children, then governments are doing an incredibly poor job of matching them up with willing and capable parents.

Re:I don't mind (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44138349)

If there really are orphanages full of desperate children, then governments are doing an incredibly poor job of matching them up with willing and capable parents.

Willing and capable parents tend to produce productive citizens, but we have more than enough of those already. Orphanages do their best to produce criminals, who can be profitably filed under "$"

Re:I don't mind (1)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#44138483)

there are many, many desperate children that feel so hopeless and lonely right now in some orphanage

Adoption in many countries is very difficult, and plenty of potential parents do not qualify. My wife and I are financially secure, and are very successfully raising two of our own kids. But we had room in our home and our hearts for at least one more, and looked into adoption. We were turned down. The reasons given were that we were too old (I am in my 50s and my wife is in her 40s), and we already have kids of our own, and childless couples would be given priority.

If there really are orphanages full of desperate children, then governments are doing an incredibly poor job of matching them up with willing and capable parents.

Just think of using a donor egg as "adopting" that egg, and I don't think that's as difficult as adopting a baby in many countries (where IVF was available in the first place). The primary thing the 3-person IVF really enables over the commonly available 2-person IVF is that mother can have the option to be biologically related to the child if the mitochondrial dna in her eggs were somehow defective. Another way to look at it, you still have to "adopt" an egg w/ healthy mitochondria from someone (and if you were open to the normal adoption process in the first place, this would appear to be a don't care issue).

I am a Greek so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44137907)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_%28mythology%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_%28genetics%29

yuo fa1l 1t?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44137943)

I for one... (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year ago | (#44137969)

yadda yadda yadda.

Why...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44138119)

Do we REALLY have a shortage of people having kids?

no... no we dont.

if you can't have kids by the old fashioned fucking... something even the lowest forms of life manage to do..

It's not ment to be. Get over yourself and go do something useful with your life.

(squeezing out more kids isnt one of them)

Our knowledge is insufficient for GMO babies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44138145)

The lack of caution shown in that UK government statement is just breathtaking. The politicians seem to be accepting everything that the industry lobbyists tell them without first seeking wide-ranging evidence of safety gathered over decades nor exercising any cautionary judgement of any kind.

In fact, they're following the same kind of accelerated and untested path beaten by Monsanto with GMO crops. The many horrors that GMOs have introduced [gmoevidence.com] are no longer a secret. Nor is the widespread lobbying and corruption [independen...cenews.org] that led to it a secret anymore.

Although 3-party IVF is not the same thing as GMO crops, nevertheless it is a form of genetic manipulation and it produces new gene combinations. Our level of understanding of the effects of genetic engineering is far too primitive to be doing experiments on humans at this stage. We can't even do it safely with much simpler organisms, and we have failed dismally to predict how they interact with other life in the biosphere of which are are part.

This is unjustified wishful thinking about our level of scientific competence and experience. The human population should not be treated as a test tube. This is an area where caution is a very good thing, and accepting commercial advice is very unwise.

Slippery slope? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44138181)

Does anybody have a plausible guess about what, exactly, the 'slippery slope' is supposed to be leading ominously and inevitably toward?

Not all 'slippery slope' arguments are nonsense, by any means; but I'd be a lot more convinced by this one if I had some idea about the alleged topography of the area around the slope. Are there monkey-men at the bottom? clone Hitler armies? The kwisatz haderach?

Re:Slippery slope? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44138383)

Designer babies.

Re:Slippery slope? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44138419)

The slippery slope is totally sweet threeway marriages for young people, and none for the crusty old legislators who are past their child-siring years.

Re:Slippery slope? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#44138535)

Keep in mind that I actually support stuff like this, ultimately wishing

I think the problem is that people are scared that the 'wealthy' will get even more ahead, and their own children left in the dust. Or they're scared of a scenario out of Star Trek - the Eugenics wars.

Personally, I want genetic modification to eliminate various obvious genetic disorders - breast cancer genes, diabetes, etc... However, we should not be changing genes until it's demonstrated that the gene we're fixing is actually a serious defect that is counter-survival. Assuming we approve a new fix once a year, it'd be centuries before we're ready to stretch beyond that.

Once we've fixed the easy things, only then should we really start worrying about improving 'top line' humans - increasing intelligence, etc... And that should be addressed in a serious, gradual fashion.

Re:Slippery slope? (2)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#44138645)

The slippery slope is that perfecting this technique is a stepping stone to designer babies.

Apparently, the current technology allows replacement of the whole nucleus, allowing the nucleus of a fertilized egg w/ defective mitochondria to be placed into another fertilized egg with healthy mitochondria. The implication is that this fertilized egg is placed back in the mother (but it could be anyone). Many folks are pretty sure that we are pretty close to the ability to selectively replace a few chromosomes in that nucleus during the swap. Presumably, the first application of this would be to replace/remove a obviously defective chromosome (say trisomy-21 aka down's syndrome) which seems like it might be the first step down the slope.

As mappings of gene-expressions to chromosomes get more accurate, you might imagine that some specific chromosome could be selected for (take all the chromosomes except #k and get that from some other place). Although you might think that the next step might be making a kid with the "best" selection of chromosomes from a single mother and father, identifying a gene in a chromosome is currently a destructive procedure so that's not an easy path to take. Instead, the next logical step (if you allow for N>2 people in the procedure) is to pick a known good chromosome from a 3rd party. With enough 3rd parties involved, you pretty much have a designer baby [wikipedia.org] ... ;^)

Of course there is an ethical side to this as well (gotta create/destroy a bunch of *human* fertilized eggs to do this) and that doesn't sit that well with many folks.

Re:Slippery slope? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#44138755)

Does anybody have a plausible guess about what, exactly, the 'slippery slope' is supposed to be leading ominously and inevitably toward?

1. Obtain DNA of rich person/politician/celebrity

2. Add said DNA into embryo

3. Carry child to term

4. Sue for child support

5. Profit!

Midi-chlorians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44138445)

"Mitochondria are the tiny, biological 'power stations' that give the body energy."

Aren't those called Midi-chlorians?

Re:Midi-chlorians? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44139747)

That's in a galaxy far, far away. Life here evolved independently.

Re:Midi-chlorians? (1)

xstonedogx (814876) | about a year ago | (#44139829)

There are those who say life here began out there.

And baby makes... four (1)

PuddleBoy (544111) | about a year ago | (#44138559)

I guess I'm still stuck asking why?

OK, so you've had your genome sequenced (or whatever) and determined there might be a problem. Isn't that nature's way of saying 'sit this one out'?

Rather than encourage society to devote so many resources to finding new ways to let you make a baby, how about adopting? There are soooo many deserving children out there who are aching for a home. They already exist - they already have the need.

Don't fiddle with nature - do the simpler thing and bring an existing child into your life.

moD up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44139475)

Arghhh! (1)

ITMagic (683618) | about a year ago | (#44140679)

Stop this - RIGHT NOW.

Mitochondria do not have DNA, therefore the UK is not creating babies using the DNA from three people.

Mitochondria are being transferred whole, and contain RNA.

I know this is slashdot, and we must expect inaccurate reporting of scientific and technical subjects - but really...

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