A boy was born. He might look just like any other boy. But he’s all but “just like any other boy”.
The 5 months old baby boy is the first to be born using a new technique that include DNA from three parents, as the New Scientist reported.
This technique can potentially help parents with rare genetic conditions to have healthy babies.
The boy’s parents are Jordanian who were treated by a US-based team in Mexico, since this method has not been approved in the US. Only UK has legally approved this technique.
The boy’s mother carries genes that can cause a fatal disorder that affects the developing nervous system, known as Leigh syndrome.
This procedure is done by John Zhang and his team at the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City.
Zhang’s team used this approach to create five embryos, only one of which developed normally. This embryo was implanted in the mother and the child was born nine months later. “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.
Neither method has been approved in the US, so Zhang went to Mexico instead, where he says “there are no rules”. He is adamant that he made the right choice. “To save lives is the ethical thing to do,” he says.
The team seems to have taken an ethical approach with their technique, says Sian Harding, who reviewed the ethics of the UK procedure. The team avoided destroying embryos, and used a male embryo, so that the resulting child wouldn’t pass on any inherited mitochondrial DNA. “It’s as good as or better than what we’ll do in the UK,” says Harding.
Read the whole report at the New Scientist website.