Lifestyle

Public supports gene therapy on IVF embryos

THE possibility that babies could be born with the DNA of three different people is a step closer, after a consultation showed that most Britons would be happy to see the law changed to allow a radical form of gene therapy.

The IVF therapy would help women in danger of passing on mitochondrial disease to their babies - a potentially fatal metabolic disorder.

An exhaustive survey of public attitudes to the replacement of an affected mother's mitochondria - the tiny "power packs" of cells - with those from an egg donor has found widespread support for the technique.

>>More Lifestyle News

"We've found that there is broad support for permitting mitochondria replacement to give families at risk of mitochondrial disease the chance of having a healthy child," said Professor Lisa Jardine, the chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

"Although some people have concerns about the safety of these techniques, we found that they trust the experts and the regulator to know when it is appropriate to make them available."

But David King, director of Human Genetics Alert, criticised the HFEA for ignoring the potential risks associated with the technique, which has had only limited testing on laboratory animals and is not medically practised anywhere in the world.

"These techniques go far beyond anything existing in both invasiveness to the embryo and complexity, so it's not surprising they pose serious health risks to the child - risks that the HFEA refuses properly to address," Dr King said.

Mitochondrial replacement involves fusing the egg-cell nucleus of the affected mother with an egg cell from an unaffected donor.

The donor egg has its own nucleus and its complement of chromosomes removed, but retains the donor's healthy mitochondria - which have their own DNA to control energy use within the cell.

Some form of mitochondrial disease affects around one in 200 children born each year, but severe symptoms occur in only about a few dozen new-born infants.

The disease results from defects in the mitochondrial DNA, but scientists believe these could be prevented by the technique of mitochondrial replacement from a donated egg cell.

After the egg cell of mother and donor is fused and fertilised by IVF it is implanted into the mother's womb in the usual way.

The resulting baby should be free of the mother's mitochondrial defects and subsequent generations should also be free of mutations in the mitochondrial DNA - a form of "germ-line" gene therapy.

The law covering IVF, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, does not allow germ-line gene therapy, when the sperm or eggs are genetically altered, or the genetic modification of IVF embryos.

However, in 2008 the Act was amended to allow the Secretary of State for Health to permit techniques that prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disease.

In 2012, the Government asked the HFEA to seek views on mitochondrial replacement before it was made legal.

As a result, the authority commissioned a series of public consultations.

Topics:  babies dna ivf



Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

A CITY drenched in culture, Brisbane is again flaunting an arts and culture events calendar fit for a queen.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

Council accused of playing up with party politics

Councillors Chirs Cherry, Warren Polglase and Reece Byrnes during the campaign election.

Labor Councillor wants answers about police numbers.

Tweed Shire Council news at a glance

Tweed Shire Councillors discuss the council's agenda.

Find out what was discussed at last week's council meeting.

Local Partners

Hervey Bays to star in international horror flick

A great white thriller that had scenes filmed on the Fraser Coast has been picked up by a major US movie studio.

Cher, 71, and Celine Dion wow world at Billboard Awards

“I’m 71 yesterday and I can do a five-minute plank, OK.”

Judah's return to The Voice stage is a knockout

Judah Kelly performs during his knockout round on The Voice.

QUEENSLAND singer nails Adele hit.

WIN acquires rights to Southern Cross Media television

WIN network coverage

Changes to take effect at end of the month

Wentworth star Daniielle Alexis: "I was born a boy"

Wentworth star Daniielle Alexis has revealed she was born a boy

Dwayne Johnson, Tom Hanks announce White House bid on SNL

Dwayne Johnson is “officially” running for president in 2020

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

REVEALED: Where it's cheaper to pay off a mortgage than rent

6/190 Ewing Rd, Woodridge, is listed for offers $215,000. Picture: realestate.com.au

Brisbane suburbs where it is cheaper to buy than rent

The hardest place in the state to find a rental property

RENTAL SHORTAGE: Richmond River, Ballina Bar Emigrant Creek Pacific Highway Teven Interchange. Photo Jay Cronan / The Northern Star

Not enough supply to meet insatiable demand

Buy a business for less than $400,000

Springfield Lakes Night Owl is now for sale.

Springfield Lakes convenience store for sale

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!