It is a boy! For the first time, a healthy baby has been born that was created from the DNA of three people, New Scientist reveals. The baby, who is now five-months-old, is doing well.
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“This is great news and a huge deal,” says Dusko Ilic at King’s College London. “It’s revolutionary.”
This is a controversial technique that allows parents with some rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies. It has only been approved in the UK, but the birth of the child was to Jordanian parents who were treated by a US team in Mexico - so it is a worldwide venture. Hopefully, that will push it to the rest of the world.
The boy's mother has genes for Leigh syndrome. These genes reside in the mitochondria, which provides energy for our cells. Around a quarter of her mitochondria have the mutation. While the mother is healthy, her first two children were killed by the disease. This is why the couple sought out John Zhang and his team at the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City.
Zhang worked with a way to avoid the disease by using "three-parents." The method is called pronuclear transfer that involves fertilising both the mother's egg and a donor egg with the sperm. Once they start dividing during the early stages, the nucleus is removed from each. The nucleus from the donor is discarded and replaced by that from the mother.
Give eggs were fertilized in total, and one developed normally. The embryo was implanted into the mother and a child was born nine months later.
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“It’s exciting news,” says Bert Smeets at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. The team will describe the findings at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Scientific Congress in Salt Lake City in October.