British members of Parliament passed a bill Tuesday to allow scientists to take DNA from three people to create a baby, making the U.K. the first country to legalize the controversial technique.
The practice is intended to be used to stop the transfer of genetic diseases from mothers to their children, BBC News reports — but has raised ethical questions about tampering with DNA.
In the United Kingdom, the scientific community sees the 3-people DNA technique as a breakthrough procedure, but some religious leaders and some ethics groups were opposed to the parliamentary bill.
Catholic and Anglican Church leaders don’t like that the technique—a form of in vitro fertilization—calls for the fertilization of two embryos but the destruction of the third. Others worry the practice could lead to the creation of designer babies whose eye color, height, or intelligence can be tailored to the parent’s wishes.
But scientists argue this procedure wouldn’t open the door to designer babies, as the technique uses less than 0.1% of the donor parent’s DNA — not enough to change aesthetics, but just enough to save a child from a genetic disease. The technique could help an estimated 150 families a year, experts say.
More Must-Reads From TIME
- Inside the White House Program to Share America's Secrets
- Meet the 2024 Women of the Year
- East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment
- The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap
- Long COVID Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Does
- Column: The New Antisemitism
- The 13 Best New Books to Read in March
- Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org