A committee of MPs will today look at whether the UK should become the first country in the world to legalise babies with three biological parents.
The controversial IVF technique was developed by experts at Newcastle University, who say the treatment could help parents not to pass genetic diseases to their children.
However, religious groups have expressed concerns that the process would be unethical.
The Science and Technology Committee are due to begin their hearing shortly after 9am today (Wednesday 22 October). Professor Doug Turnbull, from Newcastle University, will give evidence to the influential group of MPs.
Staff at the universities of Newcastle and Durham have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a row over pensions.
A total of 78% of members of the University and College Union (UCU) who were balloted across 69 universities voted in favour of strike action.
Talks between the union and the universities will be held on Wednesday to try to negotiate a solution.
The union said if the employers continued with their proposals then the union would meet on Friday to decide what form the disruption would take and when it would start.
A vote for action would by likely to include a marking boycott and a refusal to set exams. The action would stop students being set coursework or receiving formal marks and feedback, as well as halting exams.
A medical study begun on Tyneside 67 years ago has found a link between childhood infections and hearing loss in later life.
The so-called Red Spot study has been looking at more than 1100 babies born in Newcastle from 1947 to the present day, measuring their health and development.
The charity Action on Hearing Loss has funded the study.
Dr Mark Pearce of Newcastle University led the study. He says findings show that childhood illnesses could have long-lasting consequences.
Following the sentencing of Russian student Vladimir Aust, who made explosives at his Newcastle University halls, the North East Counter Terrorism Unit and Northumbria Police release photographic evidence from his accommodation:
18-year-old, Vladimir Aust has been sentenced to two years in prison at Newcastle Crown Court for making an explosive 'highly popular with terrorists'.
The Russian student pleaded guilty to the manufacturing of an explosive substance, Hexamethylenetriperoxidediamine (HMTD), after chemicals were discovered at a Newcastle University student accommodation campus in June 2014.
Mr Justice Coulson said he received credit for his age, his remorse, his previous good character and his early guilty plea.
He added HMTD terrorists "explosive of choice" and that sentences passed on those who manufactured it needed to be a deterrent.
He said the other aggravating factors were the prolonged period of time over which he made the substance, between February and June, that he had detonated it at least four times, and that others in the halls had been put at risk.
The judge decided that Aust was not part of a wider terror group:
You were dangerous, but acting alone.
The charges follow an investigation by the North East Counter Terrorism Unit and Northumbria Police.
Vladimir Aust clearly had a growing fascination with chemicals and manufacturing them into explosives.
Some of the items recovered are classed as potentially volatile and therefore could have put those within the vicinity at risk.
Although there is no evidence or indication what Aust planned to do with the items he manufactured, the hours he spent researching and working on them is of great concern.
A second 18-year-old man, arrested in connection with the investigation in June, has since been released without charge.
A Russian student has admitted to making an explosive substance after a bomb scare at Newcastle University.
Vladimir Aust has accepted making hexamethylenetriperoxidediamine (HMTD) between September 1 last year and June 11 this year.
The discovery of the volatile substance, sometimes used in the mining industry, outside the university accommodation building caused chaos in the busy city in the summer.
The 18-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge during a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court, where he appeared via video link.
A charge of having two lock knives when he was arrested at Bayswater Road in London, when he was believed to be heading for the Russian embassy, was denied and will be dropped.
The investigation was initially led by the Counter Terrorism Unit.
Judge James Goss QC adjorned the case until next month when Aust will be senteced via video link to the prison where he is being held.
The first three-parent babies could be born by 2015 after the government set out new draft regulations which will allow donor DNA from a second mother to be implanted into a defective egg.
A debate is being held in Westminster about the UK becoming the first country in the world to legalise babies with three biological parents. The controversial IVF technique has never been tried before.
Scientists in Newcastle are pushing for the technique to made legal. But critics say it's completely unethical and would be a step too far for the human race.
Helen Ford reports on one woman who lost seven children to genetic illness, and is in favour of the change:
A controversial technique that could see babies born to three biological parents is being debated at Westminster.
Scientists at Newcastle University want the IVF treatment to be legalised to prevent rare genetic illnesses. But critics say the procedure would be completely unethical.
Colin Hart at The Christian Institute and Professor Doug Turnbull at Newcastle University voice the arguments against and for the treatment:
Scientists and religious groups have clashed over proposals for three-parent IVF, which are being debated in Westminster later today.
"If we're going to allow parents to chose what sort of genes their children have, that's a massive Rubicon and that's such a big Rubicon that in every other country this is not legal."
"This research is about providing women who carry a specific sort of genetic disease reproductive choice. We already have ability for some genetic diseases to select on specific embryos."
A controversial technique that could see babies born to three biological parents is being debated at Westminster later.
Scientists at Newcastle university want the IVF treatment to be legalised to prevent rare genetic illnesses. However, critics say the procedure would be completely unethical.