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Researchers transfer genetic material between two eggs

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c2079 (Published 15 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2079
  1. Donald Asprey
  1. 1BMJ

    Researchers at Newcastle University have developed a technique to transfer nuclear DNA between two human zygotes. The technique, published in Nature, could be used to prevent the transmission of maternally inherited mitochondrial diseases (Nature 2010. doi: 10.1038/nature08958).

    Dr Mary Herbert and Professor Doug Turnbull led the study, funded by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, in which pronuclei were extracted from donor zygotes and implanted into a recipient zygote—with its own pronuclei removed—in the exact same stage of development. The recipient zygotes were then cultured for six to eight days to see if they could develop to the blastocyst stage.

    The study used abnormally fertilised embryos unsuitable for in vitro fertilisation—those with one or three pronuclei rather than the normal two from the mother and father. After the transfer …

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