Today’s papers are reporting that two-mother embryos may help to end hereditary diseases. Nice headline but not quite true. Before you jump to conclusions and set your hair on fire, be aware that women are not about to start self-reproducing and vote men off the island. This two-mother gig still starts with a sperm-fertilized egg. So really, the embryos are mother-father-then-add-another-mother fertilized. Read on, from the National Post:
The scientists take a fertilized egg from a mother with malfunctioning mitochondria, and extract the healthy part of its DNA that contains all the information on how her child will develop. Then, they take a fertilized egg from a donor mother which is stripped of almost all of its DNA, leaving just the shell containing its healthy mitochondria “battery.”
And it should probably be added that the touted elimination of hereditary diseases is for that particular egg only. Granted, if enough babies are fertilized in petrie dishes without hereditary diseases, the diseases will eventually be uprooted. But my uneducated feeling — watching music videos and listening to pop radio and occasionally browsing entertainment news and teen pregnancies stats — tells me that there is still plenty of sex happening the good ole’ fashioned way.