One baby, three parents. It’s a concept that sounds like science fiction, but the possibility of a child being conceived by more than two individuals is becoming more of a reality.
According to a recent report in Nature, scientists from Oregon Health & Sciences University have successfully created human embryos with genetic information from one man and two different women. The ground-breaking technique is meant to prevent the passing on of deadly mitochondrial diseases from mother to child.
Mitochondrial diseases occur when the mitochondria – small structures within cells responsible for producing energy – fail to function as they should. The result can be debilitating diseases from cell death and whole biological system failure. Because mitochondria are essential for energy production, people who suffer from these diseases typically have problems with organs in high need of energy – such as the brain, liver, heart and more.
These kinds of diseases can range anywhere from mild and non-threatening to incapacitating and fatal.