Three Genetic Parents? How About Seven?
A recent experiment by UK scientists resulted in viable embryos containing genetic material from three people. The basic idea is that a child so conceived would have three parents.
First, the original research had a different purpose. The intent is to replace genetically damaged structures called mitochondria, found in a woman's egg cells, with healthy mitochondria from unrelated eggs.
Their research efforts have apparently created ten viable embryos each containing genetic material from multiple 'parents.' The experiments were performed on embryos left over from fertility treatments. The embryos were destroyed after six days so they could be analyzed.
Here's what scientists have in mind:
[D]octors would first combine the genetic material from one woman's egg and her partner's sperm. The resulting egg would then contain the nuclear DNA from both parents, along with the woman's diseased mitochondria. Scientists would then remove the nuclear DNA from the fertilized egg, leaving the unhealthy mitochondria behind, and transplant it into a second woman's egg, which has been stripped of its own nuclear DNA but retains healthy mitochondria.
Patrick Chinnery, a neurogeneticist on the Newcastle team that performed the experiments, is cautious about the results.
"There are still a number of scientific issues we've got to resolve, in terms of efficiency, and in terms of whether we can do this in eggs rather than in other embryos," Chinnery said.
But how will human beings organize the creation of children with three - or even more - parents? Arranging to have many parents for one offspring can get devilishly complicated; I recommend a nzred.
Science fiction writers are way ahead of the curve on this, conceptually at least. In his sardonic 1949 story Venus and the Seven Sexes, writer William Tenn tells us about a rather complicated arrangement - the seven sexes of the Plookh.
"...I am a representative of the seventh sex - nzred."
"A nzred, huh? What do you do?"
"I coordinate... You see, a mlenb is primarily interested in winning the affections of a likely strob and finding a tkan whom he can love. A tkan merely courts a mlenb and is attracted to a good guur. I am responsible for getting a complete chain of these individuals in operation, a chain of compatibility where perfect amity runs in a complete circle - a chain which will produce offspring of maximum variability. Then, after the matrimonial convention, when the chain is established, each sex begins to secrete in its original germ with the full forty-nine chromosomes. A busy time for the nzredd!
"The nzred... fits himself in at any point in the chain which the exigencies of the situation seem to demand. He may receive the sextuple supergamete from the tkan and transmit the original single gamete to the guur, he may be between the flin and blap, the blap and srob, whatever is required."
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/7/2008)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
TytoCare Offers Futuristic Home Care
'Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling...' - EM Forster, 1909.
Would You Swallow An Origami Robot?
'Swallow it in an emergency--it goes down easily and works just as well inside as outside.' - Doc Smith, 1934.
Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.' - James Blish, 1957.
Medical Tattoos Are STILL Being Researched
'Following the current craze, she has had a subdermal pattern of micro-channels implanted.'
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Personalized Masks Appear
'The tiger stripes on Jim's mask... made the young people easy to identify.'
Foiling Facial Recognition, Fighting Coaster Viruses, Harlan Ellison-Style
I have no mouth and I must scream.
Ford Uses Obedient Robot Dogs To Update Facilities Maps
'If he sent out two or three of the small tele-operated devices... [he] could see machinery and construction details in real time from both above and below.'
AirTouch Panels Means No More Dirty Touchscreens!
Useful interfaces now appear in thin air.
EllipticaRunner Robot Is Fast, Amazing, Slightly Worrisome
'THEY sent A SLAMHOUND on Turner's trail in New Delhi...'
SPECTER Electroshock Round Fireable From Shotgun
'...the balls sent by this gun are not ordinary balls, but little
cases of glass.'
100 Terabyte Exadrive SSD Also Has Biggest Price
'A man could carry AIs or complete planetary dataspheres in a Schrön loop.'
Mechanical Milking Of Microalgae For Fuel Production
'They call 'em culture tanks. They have bugs -- germs -- growing in them.'
Feel Virtual Reality In Mid-Air!
'...a pressure on the lips - warm and soft, moist and sweet.'
Electric Lasso Gives Police Options
'The blast of silver threads enveloped her...'
TytoCare Offers Futuristic Home Care
'Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling...'
Powdered Regolith Propulsion
'... filling their great tanks with the finely divided dust which the ionic rockets would spit out in electrified jets.'
Ford's SafeCap, Opposite Of Niven and Barnes' Napcap
'In the napcap a client became an instant yoga master...'
Would You Get 'Chipped'? Michigan May Ban Employers
'Employees above a certain level were implanted with advanced microprocessors...'
Tesla Autopilot: What Does An Autonomous Car See When It Looks At The Road?
'Jeremiah is a sports-model to begin with and that kind is awfully hot-tempered.'
DNA Controls Swarms Of Molecular Robots
'They exist in loose swarms...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories