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Chinese Experiment Creates Three-Parent Fetuses 51

what_the_frell writes "BBC News is reporting that a foetus has been created from the eggs of two women and the sperm of one man in China. Apparently, none of the three resulting foetuses survived, but it does raise some interesting questions about cloning, and more importantly, 'Who's your Mama?'"
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Chinese Experiment Creates Three-Parent Fetuses

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  • by ksdd ( 634242 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @11:27AM (#7220730)
    ...a 2 woman/1 man threesome actually sounds unappealing in this context.
  • This was not cloning. They are using similar technology here, but cloning is embedding the full DNA in an egg, whereas here they only embedded the mother's partial (egg) DNA, then fertilized the egg with the father's sperm.
  • How is this any worse than using egg/sperm donor for fertilization?
    • The difference is that the nuclear DNA of the donor egg is that of the infertile couple, not the egg donor.

      The only genetic material from the donor is in the mitochondria; but that doesn't affect the appearance or personality of the baby, so the baby would be for all intents and purposes, that of the infertile couple.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    eggs of two women and the sperm of one man

    This is also known as a "continental breakfast" at the Marriott.
  • There was a TV show about this: "My Two Dads" [imdb.com]. It starred Greg Evigan and that ape, or was it Paul Reiser?
  • Oh wait, I thought you said 3 headed fetus.
  • DNA is a chemical like any other. THere's nothing magical about it. We can do what we like with it. I don't see the big deal about combining the DNA from three people. We are all already complex recombinations of the DNA of millions of ancestors.
    • Actually, there was no DNA from the "second mother" involved in the process.

      The problem was that something wrong with the egg of the first mother that resulted in the zygote failing to continue growing after the first cell division.

      Their solution here was to fertalize the egg, then remove it's DNA and transplant it into the donor's egg cell that had it's original DNA removed.

      I'd very much hesitate to call the donor of the DNA-less egg cell a "mother". She's more of just an "egg cell donor", as none of
      • Actually, the Cell membrane contains the "mitochindrial(sp) DNA" so... in a way it is all 3...Gooogle mitochondrial dna...
      • I hesitate even to call regular egg-donors mothers. I've thought about this a lot, as I have been an egg donor for two different couples. I don't consider myself the mother of anybody, although there may well be three or four genetically-related-to-me children out there by now.

        I always rather enjoyed considering myself a "father" since it seems more applicable to the one-time genetic material donation role that many fathers have. Plus it amuses me, since I'm a girl.

        Because of egg donation I got to play th
  • Yo Mamas are so ugly that when they look at each other they both turn to stone!

    Yo Mamas are so fat that when they have a threesome everybody thinks is a foursome!

    Ba dum dum!
  • There are so many children in the world who have no parents, and these are the lengths to which people are willing to go to have their own biological children?

    It's not enough that she can carry a baby to term, it has to be with her own genetic material?

    I just don't understand why this is such a great thing. Creating more children for the people who are wealthy enough to pay for this instead of adopting the children that already exist, woo. Pardon me if I'm not excited.
  • Conversations like:
    "Your mama wears Combat boots!"

    "Which One - My biological mother #1 or #2? Or the one who raised me?"

    ----
    Angry Wife: "Your Mother is a slut!"

    husband: "Which one?"

    Angry Wife: "They both are!"
    ----

    Lawyer reading dead wife's will: "Your Wife left everything to your Mother-in-Law."

    Greiving husband: "Which one? Her biological mother #1 or #2, the mother who raised her or her step-mother through her fathers divorce last year?"

    -----
    Dr {reading off of a questionare}: "Has either your mo
  • In cloning they'll take the genetic material (full set, diploid) from a somatic cell and inject it into an egg (having removed the egg's own genetic material [half set, haploid]). They then do some interestingstuff to convince the egg it's been fertilized so it will start dividing.

    In this case they're just removing the haploid DNA from a donor egg and replacing it with the haploid DNA from another egg. Then it's pretty much standard IVF techniques

    I'm not sure why this is outlawed. On the one hand it co

    • According to the NPR story I heard, this process actually involved replacing the diploid DNA from the (fertilized) doner egg with the diploid DNA from the original (fertilized) egg.

      The origin mother's eggs apparently could be fertilized alright but tended to fail after a relatively small number of divisions. I'd expect the theory was that the origin mother's obvious defect could be left behind with the original mitochondria. Seems a stretch to me, but what do I know?

      It is worth noting that the putative

  • Cowboy Neal!
  • The woman who raised you lovingly is your mama. That means, of course, that some people have housekeepers for mamas, but it also includes all grandmas who've taken over parenting, or adoptive mothers. Unfortunately, that also means that many people with genetic mothers don't have mamas.

  • I think they may be taking their overpopulation problem's solution in the wrong direction.
  • I didn't read the BBC version, but here's what New Scientist said. Note the importance of the following:

    * None were born, but the researchers say this was due to obstetric complications rather than the fertility technique used, and that it would work in future.

    *Some children have already been born with three genetic parents, but the new research has prompted additional controversy because the method used shares a technical step, called nuclear transfer, with cloning procedures. However, the US scienti
    • The BBC article said that the eggs had the egg donor's genetic material cleaned out before the host mother's Nucleus was implanted. So, it seems to me, that it is a mistake to talk about these fetuses (feti?) as having three genetic parents.

      Also worth noting -- I believe the mitochondria are the only cell organelles that have their own DNA. So, children born using this technique may inherit a genotype that impairs their own fertility. Unless it was mom's mitochondria that was at fault in the first place

      • The BBC article said that the eggs had the egg donor's genetic material cleaned out before the host mother's Nucleus was implanted. So, it seems to me, that it is a mistake to talk about these fetuses (feti?) as having three genetic parents.

        But what about the mitochondria? These beings would have genetic information (nucleic acids) from three other beings, chromosomes from the sperm and the transfered egg nucleus and mitochondrial DNA from the original egg.

        My understanding is that this won't really w

        • But what about the mitochondria?

          OK, what about the mitochondrial DNA? Is it significant?

          My understanding is that this won't really work anyway... Nuclear transfer techniques fail ... due to destruction of spindles ... associated with the nucleus in higher animals, but are more homogeneously distributed in the cytoplasm of animals like sheep and cats.

          I presume you mention sheep and cats because they have already been cloned. I am sorry, but what definition of "higher animals" includes humans but

          • OK, what about the mitochondrial DNA? Is it significant?

            I refer you to this link [a3243g.com] for starters.

            what definition of "higher animals" includes humans but doesn't include sheep and cats

            I don't have the reference in front of me, so I can't give you the exact break down of where things seem to be going arwy. I will give you an example of a definition of "higher animals" that does not include sheep and cats: Kingdom - Animala, Phylum - Craniata, Order - Primates. There may be a few other mammilian orders fo

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