In a historic decision, the United Kingdom goverment has voted a gene-therapy technique that could help women to avoid passing genetic defects onto their children.
The vote, decided by 382 members of parliament casting in favour and 128 against, is expected to lead to the United Kingdom becoming the first country in the world to allow the transfer of DNA from diseased human eggs to healthy ones in the clinic.
This technique, known as mitochondrial replacement or three-person in vitro fertilization, aims to prevent women passing on harmful mutations in their mitochondria, the cell’s energy-producing structures. An estimated 1 in 5,000 children are born with diseases caused by such mutations. All mitochondrial DNA is inherited from the mother, and some women carry harmful mitochondrial mutations without experiencing symptoms themselves
The new law would not take effect until October. Moreover, clinics wishing to offer the treatment must apply for approval from United Kingdom’s fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). And before giving a green light, the HFEA will probably want further evidence that the procedure is safe, and it is likely to vet applications on a case-by-case basis.
This thechnique will be a great advance for fighting a lot of common deseases that can be produced by mitochondrial DNA, such as diabhetes,parkinson,muscular deseases,variated syndroms…
Many reproductive biologists see this as a step that will affect the field on a global scale. “We’ve been hoping that the UK will take the lead,” says Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a The United Kingdom was one of the few countries that explicitly banned mitochondrial replacement by law.
The UK vote is the culmination of a decade-long effort on the part of researchers, advocates and funders to change the law banning mitochondrial replacement .These procedures were only legal for research purposes; UK law had explicitly prohibited their use in human reproduction.
This new voting will open a path for the approving of the mitochondrial DNA replacement in more countries, like Australia and the USA and it’ll be a really useful treatment that will avoid thousands of heavy deseases
I think that this kind of advances on health techniques should be more supported by the goverments, because they can avoid a lot of deadly deseases, and they shouldn’t be delayed because of ethical questions, because human life must be above everything
This page explains in a better way the DNA switching technique