Gene genius

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It was only to be expected that Peter Kearney of the Catholic Media Office would take a dim view of the massive Commons majority in favour of mitochondrial donation. 

But Newcastle University’s Doug Turnbull has won massive public support for the technique which Mr Kearney pejoratively describes as the “production of a three-parent baby”. 

The technique offers the prospect of eradicating inherited illness passed through the maternal line and which leads to serious illness and death in children and young adults. A donor female’s egg with healthy mitochondria has its main nuclear genes replaced with those of a woman affected by mitochondrial disease but whose basic DNA is healthy. 

The egg is then fertilised with her partner’s sperm, creating an embryo that has the central genes of the two parents but no longer carries the mutated mitochondrial DNA. Future generations of these families are spared mitochondrial illness and it would seem to me, as a Christian cleric, that it is a breakthrough of manifest benefit to the human race.

(Rev Dr) John 

10 Howard Place

St Andrews