World’s first baby born with novel three-parent embryo technique

A boy born in April with three genetic parents is the first infant born using a new technique that incorporates DNA from two women and one man, New Scientist reported Tuesday. The technique offers promise to help children avoid often-fatal genetic diseases passed down by their mothers, but has raised thorny ethical questions and is not allowed in the United States.

The boy was born in Mexico to Jordanian parents who tapped researchers from the New Hope Fertility Center in New York to help them conceive a healthy child, according to New Scientist.

The boy’s mother has genes for a condition called Leigh syndrome, a neurological condition that killed her two prior children, according to the report. But because those genes are carried in her cells’ mitochondria, the scientists were able to swap in healthy mitochondrial DNA from another woman, and now the boy appears to be healthy at 5 months old.

Mitochondria are organelles that help power cells. They contain a tiny bit of DNA — 37 genes — that is passed down from mothers to their children.

Other children have been born via so-called mitochondrial donation, a broad class of treatments that aim to replace eggs’ diseased mitochondria with healthy ones. (Some of those children, however, developed genetic problems.) Those embryos were created by injecting healthy cytoplasm — think of it like the white of a chicken’s egg — into the recipient egg.

But newer approaches transfer the nucleus — the “yolk” in our analogy — instead, which is more promising for actually curing mitochondrial diseases… Read More>>

Source: STAT

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