British scientists have welcomed a decision by the country's embryology watchdog last week (September 8) to permit a research group to try preventing the transmission of mitochondrial diseases, such as mitochondrial myopathies, from mother to child, using pronuclear transfer.

A team led by Doug Turnbull and Mary Herbert at the Newcastle Fertility Centre now have a green light to investigate the feasibility of moving pronuclei from the fertilized egg of a woman with mitochondrial disease to the egg of another woman, producing an embryo with the nuclear DNA of a man and a woman, and the mitochondrial DNA of another woman. The researchers will use donated fertilized eggs for the study and will not let any resulting embryos develop into a child.

Their initial application to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) for permission to conduct the research was rejected in September 2004. "When the initial application came in...

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