Mum and Dad and Mum
- United Kingdom
More informationAlana Saarinen is a thirteen year old girl who lives with her mum and dad in Michigan, USA. She loves playing golf and the piano, listening to music and hanging out with friends. In those respects, she's like many teenagers around the world. Except she's not, because every cell in Alana's body isn't like mine and yours; Alana is one of a few people in the world who have DNA from three people.
The BBC's Global Science Correspondent Rebecca Morelle explores how more children like Alana, with DNA from three people, could be born. This technique irreversibly changes the human genetic code, and could also eliminate debilitating genetic diseases.
This programme examines the safety and health implications of this new science. For some it is controversial. For those who have these specific genetic diseases, it is the way they could have their own healthy child. The UK is playing a pioneering role in developing the technique, called mitochondrial replacement, and Parliament are expected to vote on legalising it later this autumn. If that happened, the UK would be the first place in the world to make the process legal.
But despite that, there are a small number of children in the world, like Alana Saarinen, who have DNA from three people already. Although a small sample, they could answer some of the questions people have, such as will they be healthy, do they feel like they have three parents and would they like to trace the donor one day in the future?
Producer: Charlotte Pritchard.