Where does that lead? Baby born with the genetic makeup of three parents for the first time

Where does that lead? Baby born with the genetic makeup of three parents for the first time

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Child born with DNA from three people
A child with the DNA of three people was born for the first time in Mexico. Because the boy's mother has a rare inherited disorder, doctors chose a method of fertilization that is not legal in many other countries.

Baby born with DNA from three parents
According to media reports, a baby with the DNA of three people was born in Mexico for the first time. The boy was therefore born in April. The child's mother has a rare hereditary disease. Therefore, the doctors from the United States opted for a new technology to meet the parents' desire to have children. The magazine "New Scientist" writes about the "3-parent" technique. The treatment took place in Mexico because there is no legal regulation for the reproductive medicine procedure.

Critics point to ethical and moral problems
"This is good news and big deal," said Dusko Ilic from Kings College London, who was not involved in the work. "It's revolutionary." In Britain, fertilization with the genetic makeup of three parents had been discussed years ago.

Critics had particularly pointed to the high psychological stress on children when they had two mothers, so to speak. And also on ethical and moral reasons. "These techniques are unnecessary and unsafe and are rejected by the majority," said Dr. David King of the “Human Genetics Alert” at the time opposite “BBC”.

Mother suffers from rare hereditary diseases
The mother of the boy, born in April, suffers from the so-called Leigh syndrome, a rare hereditary disease that affects DNA in the cell's power plants (mitochondria), reports the dpa news agency. She had lost several children before and after birth. The US doctors have now removed the matured but still unfertilized nucleus of a maternal egg using a new technique.

As reported by John Zhang and colleagues in the journal "Fertility and Sterility", this nucleus was inserted into a cored donor egg cell with healthy mitochondria. The resulting cell was then fertilized in the laboratory with the father's semen.

Treatment in Mexico for legal reasons
Zhang, who normally works at the New Hope Fertility Center in New York, reportedly treated Jordanian parents in Mexico, where the controversial technique is not prohibited, unlike in the United States.

The parents were said to have rejected a similar procedure permitted in Great Britain, in which the nuclei are replaced from egg cells already fertilized, for reasons of faith. Embryos at a very early stage of development would have been discarded.

Normal pregnancy for nine months
According to the report, the new procedure created five embryos in 2015, one of which developed normally and could be used by the mother. The boy was born after a normal nine month pregnancy. According to the scientists, only one percent of mutated mitochondria was discovered in the newborn, hopefully too little to cause problems.

Technology is not allowed in Germany
However, the boy is not the first baby with three genetic parents. For example, Alana Saarinen was reported years ago, a girl who also carries genes from her father and two women. In this case, the mitochondria were subsequently added to the fertilized egg cell (cytoplasmic transfer). The technology was banned by the FDA shortly after Alana was born. In other countries, such as Germany, it was never allowed. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: WATCH: House hearing on efforts to develop a safe, effective and accessible COVID-19 vaccine (July 2022).


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