The first baby with DNA from three parents has just been born in Mexico. The mother carries the genes for a deadly syndrome that had already caused four miscarriages and her first two children to die. Scientists spliced the egg of a third donor parent together with the mother's mitochondria and fertilised it with the father's sperm.
The UK Government has agreed to the principle, but only if the specific procedure is safe. In this activity, students learn how it can help women with a serious inherited condition to have a healthy baby and why it is deemed so controversial. They use ethical arguments to decide whether they would recommend it to help a couple in need.
- Describe how to create an embryo with three parents, and explain how this technique could be used.
- Make a decision about a new technology using ethical thinking.
Blueprint curriculum link
- Unit: Genetics
- Concept: Genes: Inherited characteristics are the result of genetic information, in the form of sections of DNA called genes, being transferred from parents to offspring during reproduction.
- Skills: Decisions: Consider ethical implications and social, environmental and financial consequences
- Learning stage: Analyse
- Teachers guide
- PowerPoint file
The activity is delivered as a zip file. After you checkout, you will be sent an email with the link to download it.
This article outlines the procedure and the ethics. Good background reading for teachers.
Update: news article from the BBC with video. UK MPs voted in favour of the procedure.
Britain is set to become the first country in the world to create babies with the DNA of three people after the government set out new draft regulations
Thanks for this thrilling activity. My students discovered the medical, ethical, sociological and technical aspects all together and they discuss in a very lively way almost forgetting the break. It was the first time I used this material and I really appreciated it.