Three Person Genetics Fertility Treatment A Step Closer


The British government has proposed rules for legalizing a fertility technique that uses material from three people. The practice would be restricted to a very few cases and only two of the people would be legally classed as parents.

The technique is called mitochondrial transfer and is designed to prevent the inheritance of some genetic disorders. Such disorders involve mitochondria (#9 above), a part of the outer layer of cells that powers cell growth.

The basis of the technique is to use traditional in vitro fertilisation to create two embryos: one with the mother’s egg and the father’s sperm, and the other with the father’s sperm and a donor’s egg. The donor embryo nucleus would then be replaced with the nucleus from the mother’s egg.

That creates an embryo with the parents’ combined genetic material and the donor’s mitochondria. Although that means the genetic material comes from all three people, hereditary characteristics would only come from the mother and father.

The UK’s Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority formally backed the technique from a medical perspective last year. The government has now finished developing proposals for the legal side of introducing the technique.

One key point in the proposals is that such treatment would be rare. Fertility clinics would need a fresh licence to carry it out, and a regulator would need to assess every proposed treatment case individually. It would only give the go-ahead if there was both a “significant” risk of a child getting a mitochondrial disease and if that disease would be “serious.” The BBC estimates as few as 10 cases a year would meet this threshold.

The rules also state that the donor would not be classed as having any family relationship to the child, and that the child would not have the legal right to information about the donor.

The proposed rules won’t take effect unless and until they pass a vote in Parliament, expected in early 2015. That’s likely to involve a heated debate about the ethical side of the technique.

Quadriplegic Woman Controls Complex Robotic Arm With Her Mind [Video]

Thanks to a wi-fi brain implant and with the help of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, Jan Scheuermann can control a complex robotic arm to complete certain basic tasks such as picking up objects and move them around. The technology isn’t perfect yet: Scheuermann sometimes fails to grab things that are presented to her and hasn’t succeeded yet in certain tasks such as pouring water from one glass into another.

[Carl Zimmer | National Geographic | UPMC]

This “Star Wars” Christmas Light Show is Nothing Short of Amazing [Video]

From Tom BetGeorge:

Here’s my tribute to my favorite songs on Star Wars! Featured on ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight and twice on ABC’s Good Morning America. I sequenced the show using LOR, mixed the music/sound effects with Digital Performer, and filmed it using a 35′ lift at 3am :) This is now my second year decorating. I built all the props using wood, metal, acrylic and corrugated plastic. I am a music/teacher director for a living (COVA Conservatory in Oakland and Centerville Presbyterian Church in Fremont), hence the massive instruments! The guitar is 17′, the piano is 19′ and the drums are standard. About 12,500 channels running around 100,000 lights. Come by and see it in person on the corner of Lafayette and Ruschin in Newark most nights from 6-10pm. Because of the light beams on the roof, I turn off the display in heavy rain.

[Tom BetGeorge]

Amazon Deal of the Day: 50% Off Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food – $16.26 (+ OTHER GREAT DEALS!)


For today’s edition of Deal of the Day, Amazon has Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food for just $16.26 plus free shipping. That’s 50% off on the book’s regular list price of $34.99.

More than just a cookbook, Cooking for Geeks applies your curiosity to discovery, inspiration, and invention in the kitchen. Why is medium-rare steak so popular? Why do we bake some things at 350 F/175 C and others at 375 F/190 C? And how quickly does a pizza cook if we overclock an oven to 1,000 F/540 C? Author and cooking geek Jeff Potter provides the answers and offers a unique take on recipes — from the sweet (a “mean” chocolate chip cookie) to the savory (duck confit sugo).

Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food$34.99 $16.26 (50% Off)

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Summer Glau Brings Massive Killer Robot Friend to Her Ex’s Art Show [Videos]

This the first episode of a web show featuring Summer Glau and her 10′ tall robot friend. Yes, that’s a pretty awesome concept for a show, and if you like the first episode, be sure to check out episode two and three below!

Episode #2: Pug vs Giant Robot

Episode #3: Giant Robots Have Feelings, Too

Edit: and the “Behind the Scenes” videos are pretty awesome too!

[Wired on Youtube]