Friday, June 28, 2013
In 1997, Princeton geneticist and bioethicist Lee Silver published a brilliant and prescient book entitled Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World. In it, Silver revealed a genetic fantasia of the future, including the the possibility of children with more than two biological parents. The future appears to have arrived first in the United Kingdom, where the government, on advice from its Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, announced "its decision to proceed with draft regulations which will enable the use of mitochondria replacement techniques to be used for patient treatment." The techniques would involve the transfer of the nuclear genome of an embryo fertilized by a father and first mother into the cell of a second mother. The intent of doing so would be to ensure that the resulting child possessed healthy mitochondria from the second mother, along with the healthy nuclear genome of its father and first mother. Such a child would be a direct genetic descendant of three parents. Three for one, and one for three!