Three Parents

three parentsBabies will soon be born which have two Mums and a Dad! A new procedure which creates babies with the DNA of three people has just been given the go ahead in Britain. In this activity, students learn how it can help women with a serious inherited condition to have a healthy baby and why it is deemed so controversial. They use ethical arguments to decide whether they would recommend it to help a couple in need.

Learning objectives

  • Describe how to create an embryo with three parents, and explain how this technique could be used.
  • Make a decision about a new technology using ethical thinking.

Try the activity

Three Parents

Size: 5.33 MB

Curriculum link

England National Curriculum KS3:

  • Working Scientifically: Using ethical thinking to reflect on modern developments in science
  • Biology: Cells and organisation: the function of the mitochondria.
  • Reproduction in humans: Heredity as the process by which genetic information is transmitted from one generation to the next. A simple model of chromosomes, genes and DNA in heredity

GCSE Combined Science subject content:

  • Working Scientifically: Development of scientific thinking: explain everyday and technological applications of science; evaluate associated personal, social, economic and environmental implications; and make decisions based on the evaluation of evidence and arguments.
  • Biology: Inheritance, variation and evolution: Inheritance.
  • Cell biology: Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells: explain how the main sub-cellular structures of eukaryotic cells are related to their functions, including the nucleus/genetic material, mitochondria.

Running the activity

Starter Initial reactions on the 3 parents procedure.
Core task Students do some research to find out if the procedure can help Jake and Maya have a healthy baby.
Plenary Can the procedure be used to create ‘designer babies’?
Extension Students play a game to consider the arguments for and against the procedure.
Plenary Students discuss what the game revealed about the decision and if they agree.
For detailed running notes, download the teachers guide.


3 parents news story

Britain is set to become the first country in the world to create babies with the DNA of three people after the government set out new draft regulations