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The World’s First Three-Parent Baby Has Been Born

World’s First Three-Parent Baby

A baby boy has been born using genetic material from three people. DmZ/Shutterstock

Recently John Zhang, a pioneering scientist, has made breakthrough in assisting a Jordanian couple to have a baby with help of the genetic input from a third party. The baby boy was born in Mexico on April 6 this year. In this country, there is no laws banning such procedure using Zhang’s method.

The boy’s mother has some problem of a genetic mutation, which could cause a deadly disease known as Leigh syndrome. This disease would keep the nervous system from proper development. In fact the lady she herself is not affected by such condition, but two previous children of the couple both died due to this illness .

The mutation causing this disease is contained within the mitochondrial DNA passing down only by the maternal line. This genetic material consists of a small amount of genes that aren’t the same as those discovered in nuclear DNA, which takes place in the nucleus of every cell in the body.

Zhang’s method is involved in a process known as spindle nuclear transfer, by which the nucleus from one of the mother’s eggs would be removed and then inserted into the egg of a donor, which had its own nucleus removed. In this case,the new egg would contain both the mother’s nuclear DNA and the donor’s healthy mitochondrial DNA. After that, such new egg would be fertilized with the father’s sperm, before being put back into the mother’s womb and allowed to develop in the  normal condition.

In the interview with New Scientist, Zhang said that although there was controversy over the moral and ethical implications of his application, he still believed that his work was actually  ethical if it could save lives.

According to medical analysis, only about 1 percent of the baby boy’s mitochondrial DNA contains the mutation for Leigh syndrome. Therefor it is hoped by doctors that such an small  amount could not actually generate symptoms – although whether he could eventually avoid the deadly condition depends on time testing.

It is the good news that the baby is male in this case, because it means that he would not pass on this mitochondrial DNA to any children that he may have in the future. So, as long as he himself doesn’t develop the disease, it can be ensured that Leigh syndrome has been totally erased from the family line.