Transferring cell nuclei hours after fertilization reduces risk of passing on faulty mitochondria
L.A. Hyslop et al/Nature 2016
Improvements in a technique for making “three-parent babies” could reduce the risk of passing on faulty mitochondria, the energy-producing organelles in cells.
Less than 2 percent of mitochondria were defective in most human embryos created from this refined “pronuclear transplantation” procedure, researchers report online June 8 in Nature.
Pronuclear transplantation is one of two ways to transfer nuclear DNA from a mother’s egg that has faulty mitochondria to a donor egg with healthy mitochondria. After fertilization, the mother’s and father’s chromosomes don’t merge but are encased in separate membranes inside the mother’s egg. In pronuclear transplantation, researchers remove both of these DNA packages, known as pronuclei, and inject them into an empty donor egg.