Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Three Genetic Parents? How About Seven?

A recent experiment by UK scientists resulted in viable embryos containing genetic material from three people. The basic idea is that a child so conceived would have three parents.

First, the original research had a different purpose. The intent is to replace genetically damaged structures called mitochondria, found in a woman's egg cells, with healthy mitochondria from unrelated eggs.

Their research efforts have apparently created ten viable embryos each containing genetic material from multiple 'parents.' The experiments were performed on embryos left over from fertility treatments. The embryos were destroyed after six days so they could be analyzed.

Here's what scientists have in mind:

[D]octors would first combine the genetic material from one woman's egg and her partner's sperm. The resulting egg would then contain the nuclear DNA from both parents, along with the woman's diseased mitochondria. Scientists would then remove the nuclear DNA from the fertilized egg, leaving the unhealthy mitochondria behind, and transplant it into a second woman's egg, which has been stripped of its own nuclear DNA but retains healthy mitochondria.

Patrick Chinnery, a neurogeneticist on the Newcastle team that performed the experiments, is cautious about the results.

"There are still a number of scientific issues we've got to resolve, in terms of efficiency, and in terms of whether we can do this in eggs rather than in other embryos," Chinnery said.

But how will human beings organize the creation of children with three - or even more - parents? Arranging to have many parents for one offspring can get devilishly complicated; I recommend a nzred.

Science fiction writers are way ahead of the curve on this, conceptually at least. In his sardonic 1949 story Venus and the Seven Sexes, writer William Tenn tells us about a rather complicated arrangement - the seven sexes of the Plookh.

"...I am a representative of the seventh sex - nzred."

"A nzred, huh? What do you do?"

"I coordinate... You see, a mlenb is primarily interested in winning the affections of a likely strob and finding a tkan whom he can love. A tkan merely courts a mlenb and is attracted to a good guur. I am responsible for getting a complete chain of these individuals in operation, a chain of compatibility where perfect amity runs in a complete circle - a chain which will produce offspring of maximum variability. Then, after the matrimonial convention, when the chain is established, each sex begins to secrete in its original germ with the full forty-nine chromosomes. A busy time for the nzredd!

"The nzred... fits himself in at any point in the chain which the exigencies of the situation seem to demand. He may receive the sextuple supergamete from the tkan and transmit the original single gamete to the guur, he may be between the flin and blap, the blap and srob, whatever is required."

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/7/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Altos Labs' Bezos Wants An Anti-Agathic (To Live Forever)
'So what we're looking for now is... an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug.' - James Blish, 1957.

Anti-Forced Organ Harvesting Global Summit
'The doctor was a line of machines with a conveyor belt running through them.' - Larry Niven, 1967.

Israel Okays Third Covid Shot For Seniors
'All the vaccination shots up and down his arms, on his thighs and buttocks...' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

Stretchable OLED Heart Monitor Band-Aid
You can't buy them in the store just yet.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Jetson ONE Personal Electric Aerial Vehicle
Who says you can't have your flying car?

Starlab By Nanoracks, A Commercial Space Station
'Webb Foster had built his space laboratory... It was a great crystal sphere, a thousand feet in diameter.'

Auto-Targeting Fire Sprinkler Systems Now Reality
I think every kitchen should have one of these.

Monarch Tractor - It's Electric, Autonomous and Smart
'Driver-optional' and follows gestures.

'Seabreeze' Apple And UCLA Project To Beat Depression
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test,' the machine said peevishly.'

Hovermap By Emesent Autonomous Mapping Works Indoors - and Out
Perfect for exploring ancient artifacts on distant planets.

Sono Motor's Sion Sun-Powered Car
'...six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

LEONARDO Robot Has Legs And Thrusters, Can Skateboard, Slackline
'a walking balloon proceeded with long strides of its aluminum legs over a slant of steep upland.'

Xavier Robots On Patrol For 'Anti-Social Behavior'
'This was as close as a robot could get to a cop in uniform.'

Rotating House in Bosnia
'... feel free to turn the house on your own.'

Ingenious Engineer Creates DIY Feeding Robot
'Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'

SpaceX Creates 'Tholian Web' Mega Constellation Of Satellites
'We shall not see home again!'

Do Smart Glasses Need Forward-Facing Cameras?
'They were stylish, with yellow-tinted lenses and hip frames, but the posts were unusually thick.'

Adorable One-Seater Electric Car From Wuxi Sinotech
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed...'

Zoom Adds Real-Time, Live Translation
'He immediately turned the small shining disc of the Language Rectifier..'

It's Spacewalk Sunday, Thanks To The ESA
'The delicious, indescribable pleasure of being a little planet swinging through space...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.