The FDA is in a second round of hearings today to decide whether to allow scientists to alter the human genome. The idea is to help women with mitochondrial disease, who suffer from problems ranging from blindness to organ failure, to not pass the disease down to their children.
Doctors would remove the nucleus of the egg of the diseased woman and replace it with the nucleus of an egg from a healthy woman donor. That egg would then be fertilized by the father. The result would be a child with DNA from three parents.
This technique has so far not been used with humans, though a similar one was stopped by the FDA in 2001. Opponents say once doctors are allowed to alter the genome, it’s a slippery slope.