September 18, 2014
LONDON (AP) - The country's top medical officer says a controversial procedure to prevent rare genetic defects from being passed on to a baby could soon be permitted in Britain.
The new techniques help women with faulty mitochondria, the energy source in a cell, from passing on defects that can result in such diseases as muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, heart problems and mental retardation.
Scientists take only the healthy genetic material from an egg or embryo. They then transfer that into a donor egg or embryo that still has its healthy mitochondria but has had the rest of its key DNA removed. The fertilized embryo is then transferred into the womb of the mother.
Earlier this year, the U.K.'s fertility regulator said it found most people supported the new in vitro fertilization methods. Critics say it's unethical and there are alternatives.
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