World First Child to Have Three Parents Born from Controversial Technique

28 Sep

The world’s first child created using a
controversial new “three-parent” baby
technique has been born in Mexico.
Scientists say the technique combines
DNA from three people – the mother,
father and an egg donor. Limited
details about the birth were revealed
ahead of the American Society of
Reproductive Medicine’s scientific
congress in Salt Lake City next month,
where it will be discussed more fully.
According to critics, the procedure is
tantamount to genetic modification of
humans or even “playing God”. But
supporters say it allows women with a
particular type of genetic disease to
have healthy children who are related
to them.
The magazine New Scientist, said the
baby was now five months told and
born to Jordanians parents. The work
was carried out by a team of experts
from the US led by Dr. John Zhangof of
the New Hope Fertility Center in New
York. The goal was to prevent the baby
from inheriting a fatal genetic disease
from his mother, who had previously
lost two children to the illness.
The child’s mother has Leigh
syndrome, a fatal disorder that affects
the developing nervous system and
would have been passed on in her
mitochondrial DNA.
Although she is healthy, two of her
children have died as a result of
inheriting the disease: a girl who lived
until she was six and an eight-month-
old baby. The research summary
identified the mother as 36-year-old
and said her pregnancy was
uneventful. One of the five eggs the
researchers treated was suitable for
The technique used by Dr John Zhang
and his team involved removing some
of the mother’s DNA from an egg, and
leaving the disease-causing DNA
behind. The healthy DNA was slipped
into a donor’s egg, which was then
fertilized. As a result, the baby
inherited DNA from both parents and
the egg donor.
The technique is sometimes said to
produce “three-parent babies,” but the
DNA contribution from the egg donor
is very small. People carry DNA in two
places, the nucleus of the cell and in
features called mitochondria, which lie
outside the nucleus. The technique is
designed to transfer only DNA of the
nucleus to the donor egg, separating it
from the mother’s disease-causing
mitochondrial DNA.
Critics question the technique’s safety,
saying children would have to be
tracked for decades to make sure they
remain healthy. And they say it passes
a fundamental scientific boundary by
altering the DNA inherited by future
generations. Mitochondrial DNA is
passed from women to their offspring.
Still, last year, Britain became the first
country in the world to allow creation
of human embryos with the technique.
In the U.S., a panel of government
advisers said earlier this year that it’s
ethical to test the approach in people
if initial experiments follow certain
strict safety steps. That report was
requested by the Food and Drug
Administration, which is currently
prevented by Congress from
considering applications to approve
testing the technique in people.
Shroukhrat Mitalipov, who has worked
with the approach at the Oregon
Health & Science University in
Portland, said that given the panel’s
“We believe it’s time to move
forward with FDA-approved clinical
trials in the United States.” Henry
Greely, who directs the Center for Law
and the Biosciences at Stanford
University, said Tuesday he sees
nothing wrong with using the
technique if it is safe and is aimed at
diseases clearly caused by faulty
mitochondrial DNA. But he called the
research leading to the newly reported
birth “unethical, unwise, immoral.” He
said the approach “hasn’t been
sufficiently proven safe enough to try
to use to make a baby.” Dieter Egli of
the New York Stem Cell Foundation,
who has done work in the area, was
cautious about the implications of the
new report.
“I wouldn’t go out there at this
point and tout the accomplishment
because we don’t have enough
information,” he said Tuesday. “We
do not know exactly what was done.
We have to wait for a fuller report,”
he said.

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Posted by on September 28, 2016 in Uncategorized


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