The world's first baby using a controversial new technique employed by United States scientists to include DNA from three parents in the embryo has been born. A USA based team in Mexico used the controversial technique that is legally approved only in the UK.
The goal is to prevent the child from inheriting a fatal genetic disease from the mother. This is separate from the majority of human DNA, which is housed in each cell's nucleus.
Writing in the journal Fertility & Sterility, an global team of researchers describe the first live birth using human ooyctes or eggs from a "three parent" technique.
In the case of this infant, scientists replaced the nucleus of a donor egg cell with the nucleus taken from the mother's egg cell.
The description for the revolutionary medical procedure, which comes via New Scientist, describes a process of combining an egg from the mother, an egg from a donor, and the father's sperm. The healthy embryo was then implanted in the mother, and the procedure was a success leading to the birth of the healthy boy after nine months. And then transfers it to the donor's egg with the nucleus removed. Around a quarter of the mother's mitochondria have the disease-causing mutation in them, yet the mother is healthy. She had passed on the disease to her two previous children, both of whom died at a young age.
He told the Daily News that the baby is healthy, and that the preferred name for the method is "nuclear transfer" rather than "three-parent". The nucleus of the donor egg is discarded and replaced by the mother's fertilized nucleus.
The team opted for a more ethical approach with this technique, says Sian Harding, who reviewed the ethics of the United Kingdom procedure. Some of the babies went on to develop genetic disorders, and the technique was banned.
Using the spindle nuclear transfer method, Zhang's team created five embryos, only one of which developed normally. It is usually deemed that problems will not show unless about 18 percent of mitochondria are affected.
The world's first child with genes from three people has been born to a Jordanian couple.
Dr Zhang and his team will report their research and findings to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's Scientific Congress next month in Salt Lake City.