New Scientist revealed that the first baby to be born using a controversial technique that incorporates DNA from 3 different parents is now five months old.
This revolutionary procedure allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies. The procedure was performed in Mexico by a United States-based medical team. In this case, DNA was used from different Jordanian parents to help the baby avoid being born without a deadly genetic condition that would have been passed down from his mother.
Limited details were revealed about the procedure in September. It will be discussed in-depth in October at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s scientific congress in Salt Lake City. What we do know is that the boy’s mother has Leigh Syndrome. This is a fatal disease that affects the nervous system. It would have been passed on to her child via her mitochondrial DNA. Although the mother is healthy, two of her children have already died as a result of inheriting the disorder. She had an eight-month-old baby and an 8-year old girl already pass away from the disease.
Dr. John Zhang, of the New Hope Fertility Clinic in New York, and his team performed the surgery in Mexico, where there are no rules against the procedure. They took the nucleus that contained the mother’s DNA and implanted it into a donor’s egg that has had its nucleus removed. The donor’s healthy mitochondrial DNA was retained.
The procedure is quite controversial. Although it has been approved in other regions, such as in the United Kingdom, the procedure is still banned in the United States. Critics say that the procedure is tantamount to “playing god” according to news sources.
Supporters, on the other hand, say that the procedure allows women with a particular type of genetic disease to have healthy children. According to The Independent, Dr. Zhang, who performed the procedure, says that saving lives in the right thing to do. Other scientists that work in the field welcome the news that this procedure was successful as the safety of the procedure had already been demonstrated by previous researchers.