UK approves techniques to make babies from DNA of 3 people

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  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 file photo, Rachel Kean activist and campaigner poses for the Associated Press outside the Palace of Westminster, after she witnessed the vote on 3 parent babies in the House of Commons, in London.  Britain's fertility regulator has approved controversial techniques allowing doctors to create babies using the 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 Thursday described it as a "life-changing" moment for families who might benefit from the treatment. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 file photo, Rachel Kean activist and campaigner poses for the Associated Press outside the Palace of Westminster, after she witnessed the vote on 3 parent babies in the House of Commons, in London. Britain's ... fertility regulator has approved controversial techniques allowing doctors to create babies using the 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 Thursday described it as a "life-changing" moment for families who might benefit from the treatment. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File) (The Associated Press)

  • In this undated photo provided by OHSU Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy, scientists use a pipette to remove the nucleus from an egg. 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. (OHSU Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy via AP)

    In this undated photo provided by OHSU Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy, scientists use a pipette to remove the nucleus from an egg. 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. (OHSU Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy via AP) (The Associated Press)

Britain's fertility regulator has approved controversial techniques allowing doctors to create babies using the DNA from three people — what it called a "historic" decision that is expected to help prevent a small number of children from inheriting potentially fatal diseases from their mothers.

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The regulator's chair, Sally Chesire, on Thursday described it as a "life-changing" moment for families who might benefit from the treatment. She said the techniques would be used in "limited circumstances" as recommended by their expert panel.

The methods 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.

Britain's fertility regulator said clinics must apply for permission to use the techniques for every interested patient.