Britain's Newcastle University says its scientists have received a license to create babies using DNA from three people to prevent women from passing on potentially fatal genetic diseases to their children-the first time such approval has been granted. The faulty mitochondria are genetically transmitted, making it impossible for women who have the disease to give birth to healthy babies.
The British Parliament legalized this procedure in 2015 and the HFEA approved its use in licensed cases a year later.
A number of women are already lined up to receive the therapy at the Newcastle Fertility Centre.
It is thought that only a small minority of these women will choose to adopt the...
On Thursday, it issued the first license for the procedure to the Newcastle Fertility Centre.
The idea of "three-parent" babies aren't new, but the big step to turn research into reality didn't happen until recently. To put it simply, doctors replace an egg's defective mitochondrial DNA from the mom with healthy DNA from a female donor.
Mitochondria appears as small structures inside almost every cell in the human body that convert food into energy.
Because mitochondria have their own DNA, the resulting embryo has DNA from three people, but only the biological parents' genes can influence the baby's physical appearance and personality.
Newcastle University asked for permission from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to undertake the procedure, known as mitochondrial donation treatment, at the end of previous year.
And realistically expect the first child to be born in 2018 at the earliest, the BBC reported.
The team in Newcastle anticipates helping 25 couples every year. Diseases of the mitochondria are caused by inherited mutations in the DNA of mitochondria and can cause muscle weakness, blindness, deafness, seizures, learning disabilities, diabetes, heart and liver failure.
"Mitochondria diseases can be devastating for families affected and this is a momentous day for patients who have tirelessly campaigned for this decision", said Doug Turnbull.
Last year, USA -based doctors announced they had created the world's first baby using such techniques, after traveling to Mexico to perform the procedure, which has not been approved in the United States.
When the United Kingdom gave the green light to the technique, the independent watchdog Human Genetics Alert claimed it was "the first step in a well mapped-out process leading to [genetically modified] babies, and a future of consumer eugenics".