First Child Born With DNA From Three Parents

A five-month-old baby was the first to be born using a new technique that allows parents with severe genetic mutations to have healthy children. The child, a boy, is the first to be born using the technique that takes DNA from three people to create a viable embryo. The technique is only approved in the UK right now.

The procedure for the unnamed Jordanian parents was conducted in Mexico and the procedure was done by a team of medical personnel from the US. In this case, the mother carries genes for Leigh syndrome, which is a fatal disorder that affects the development of the nervous system. Around a quarter of the mother's mitochondria have the disease-causing mutation in them, yet the mother is healthy.

The couple's first two children died because of Leigh syndrome. The medical team who performed the procedure giving the couple hope for a healthy baby is John Zhang and his team from New Hope Fertility Center in New York City. Zhang has a new technique that gives a way to avoid the mitochondrial disease using what has been dubbed the three-parent technique.

The method is approved in the UK and is called pronuclear transfer. This involves fertilizing the mother's egg and a donor's egg with the father's sperm. Before the eggs begin to divide into early-stage embryos, each nucleus is removed from the egg. The nucleus of the donor egg is discarded and replaced by the mother's fertilized nucleus. In this case, the parents were Muslim and a different technique had to be used. Zhang removed the nucleus from both eggs, inserted the mother's into the donor egg and then fertilized it. This process was used to create five embryos and only one of them developed normally. That normal embryo was inserted into the mother and the child was born nine months later.

via: New Scientist