Britain's fertility regulator has approved controversial techniques allowing doctors to create babies using DNA from three people — what it called a "historic" decision to help prevent a small number of children from inheriting potentially fatal diseases from their mothers.
The regulator's chair, Sally Chesire, on Dec. 15 described it as a "life-changing" moment for families who might benefit from the treatment.
"Parents at very high risk of having a child with a life-threatening mitochondrial disease may soon have the chance of a healthy, genetically related child," she said in a statement.
The new procedures are intended to fix problems linked to mitochondria, the energy-producing structures outside a cell's nucleus. Faulty mitochondria can result in conditions including muscular dystrophy, major organ failure and severe muscle weakness.
Last year, Britain changed its law to permit scientists to modify eggs or embryos before they are transferred into women, becoming the first country to legally approve the techniques. In September, U.S.-based doctors announced they had created the world's first baby using such techniques, after traveling to Mexico to perform the methods, which have not been approved in the United States.