MPs are holding a vote to decide if the UK will become the first country to legalise the creation of babies from the DNA of three people.

The technique, developed in Newcastle, is designed to prevent deadly genetic diseases, such as mitochondrial disease, from being passed from mother to child. It uses a version of IVF to combine the DNA of the two parents with the healthy mitochondria of a donor female.

The process has sparked a fierce ethical debate, however, with senior members of the church wanting to block the procedure due to the destruction of embryos. Some other groups also worry that such a procedure is taking another step across the ethical line towards designer babies.

The government backs the measure in principle, but MPs will be given a free vote, rather than being forced down party lines.

This is known as a conscience vote, which will be of interest to Law applicants. Biology students could look further into the processes behind the procedure, while students applying for Philosophy or Theology might consider the ethical arguments on either side of the debate. 

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