One of the saddest things in this world are parents who carry genetic diseases not wanting to have kids in fear of passing them on.
Luckily, science is on the case!
A group of the techno-detectives have discovered a new technique that can prevent certain inherited diseases from being passed on to the next generation, though it doesn't work for all genetic issues. Mitochondrial disorders affect about 1 in 10,000 people and can cause a range of medical problems from stunted growth, vision loss, neurological disorders to kidney disease.
Currently, there are no cures for mitochondrial disorders. Most are passed from the mommy to the child because of the mitochondrial DNA in the egg. A lot of these moms, then, choose between not having children or undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor eggs.
This might be avoidable!
Scientist have found a way to tranfer a cell’s nucleus, and not its mitochondrial DNA, into a different human egg. The egg cell still has a mother’s genes but not her mitochondrial DNA, which is located outside the nucleus in the egg’s cytoplasm. It's tricky, but it's totally rad that it works!
Here's what one of the co-authors said:
“This gives us the opportunity to prevent the inheritance of these devastating diseases. Because these mutations are inherited in the cytoplasm, it can be unpredictable. But for the first time, we can prevent the mutations and really cut off the inheritance of these diseases.”
The name of the game now is to perfect the process and the results, which might be a few years off before this is offered clinically.
It's a fantastic step in the right direction!!
[Image via AP Images.]