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UK passes three-person embryo law

25th February 2015

The UK has become the first country to pass a law allowing the creation of three-person embryos. The procedure comes as an attempt to prevent the passing on of genetic diseases through the use of a donor embryo in conjunction with either the parents’ embryo or the mother’s egg.

The case has been watched closely by UK lawyers since it was announced earlier this month that the law would be voted on, as reported in this article. The final vote was carried out last night by the House of Lords, which passed its final legislative obstacle to allow for this modified version of IVF to be carried out in the UK by a majority vote.

The procedure looks to eliminate genetic defects in the mitochondria that are passed on only by the mother and have their own DNA, but it is reported to not impact on the child’s appearance or personality traits. The procedure, as is explained in this BBC article, can be carried out by one of two methods and results in a child with 0.1 percent of their DNA from a donor woman with healthy mitochondria and is a permanent change that is passed on to further generations.

Image Credit: Thomas (flickr.com)