Federal health regulators are debating a technique that would allow babies to be created from the DNA of three people.

The hope of the technique is to someday eradicate mitochondrial disease, which can cause epilepsy, blindness and more.


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Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University have already used this technique to create five healthy monkeys. Now, they want to test the technique on a group of women who have the disease. They would use the mom’s egg, take out the mitochondrial DNA and use a donor’s mitochondrial. That way, the baby would get the traits of the mother and father, but with the donor’s healthy DNA.

Supporters call it gene correction, but critics say it’s gene modification and would be the dawn of “designer babies,” leading parents to modify their children’s eye color, intelligence, height and more. Critics say they’re worried about unintended consequences of this technique.


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“This is a biologically extreme procedure that puts any resulting children at serious risk, and that breaks a long standing international consensus against producing genetically engineered humans,” Center for Genetics and Society’s executive director Marcy Darnovsky said.

Experts say they believe that the FDA will allow this technique in small trials.