OK given to create unique 'dual mother' embryo

September 8, 2005

British scientists have been given the go-ahead to create a human embryo that will have genetic material from two mothers.

The Newcastle University team will transfer genetic material created when an egg and sperm fuse into another woman's egg, the BBC said Thursday.

The stated aim was to get healthy offspring free of inherited genetic disorders. Such diseases arise from DNA found outside the nucleus and thus inherited separately from DNA in the nucleus.

They are called collectively mitochondrial diseases.

Mitochondria are small complex structures, which exist in every cell of the body, except red blood cells. They are responsible for producing the energy needed to grow and live.

One unique feature of mitochondria is that they have their own DNA -- mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited from the mother only.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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