First baby born from three-par­ent tech­nique

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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. –

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