First baby born from three-parent technique
THE world’s first baby has been born using a controversial new technique by US scientists to include DNA from three parents in the embryo.
The baby boy was born five months ago in Mexico to Jordanian parents, and is healthy and doing well, said the report in New Scientist magazine.
The boy’s mother carried genes for a disorder known as Leigh Syndrome, a fatal nervous system disorder which she had passed on to her two previous children who both died of the disease.
The woman and her husband sought the help of John Zhang, a doctor from the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City to have a baby that would be genetically related to them but would not carry the inherited disease.
The US has not approved any three-parent method for fertility purposes, so Dr Zhang went to Mexico where he was quoted as saying “there are no rules”.
One method that has been approved in Britain, called pronuclear transfer, was deemed unacceptable to the couple because it would involve the destruction of two embryos, said the report.
Since the mother carried the genes for the disease in her mitochondria, or DNA that is passed down from the maternal side, Dr Zhang used her nuclear DNA and combined it with mitochondria from an egg donor, in a technique known as spindle nuclear transfer.
Dr Zhang and his team are expected to describe their method at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, next month.
An abstract describing the research has been published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, but experts said much more remains to be understood about the research.
For now, Dr Zhang said the boy’s mitochondria has been tested and they found that less than 1 percent carry the mutation.
“His being a boy also ensures that he cannot pass down any inherited mitochondrial DNA,” Dr Zhang said. –