The boy was born five months ago in Mexico, scientists using the technique to prevent the baby from inheriting a mitochondrial disease known as Leigh Syndrome from his mother.
In a world first, a baby has been born with DNA from three biological parents, Time reported Tuesday, September 27.
Zhang had to go to Mexico to perform the procedure because it is not yet approved in the U.S. Nonetheless, some health experts are optimistic that the procedure offers hope to parents who risk transmitting to their children genetic disorders that are potentially deadly. His parents were treated by US fertility specialists in Mexico, where there are no laws prohibiting such methods.
The goal of the work is to allow mothers carrying genetic mutations that cause mitochondrial diseases, which afflict 1,000 to 4,000 people in the US each year, to give birth to healthy babies.
John Zhang, the doctor who conducted the experiment, also monitored the genetic constitution of the child during the procedure using Next Generation Sequencing to ensure the healthy genetic transfer. However, the United Kingdom technique is not appropriate for the couple who is Muslim and opposed to the destruction of two embryos that happens using pronuclear transfer wherein nucleus from the donor's fertilised egg is discarded and replaced by the mother's fertilised egg.
Once both eggs are fertilised and progressing to early-stage embryos, the nucleus in the healthy donor egg is transferred into the mother's egg.
Doctors have recently disclosed about the baby born using the three-parent technique. Four of the five eggs began to grow, but only one developed normally.
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Voilà! Nine months later, Abrahim was born.
"We know that the procedure is not flawless", said Dr. David J Clancy, lecturer, Lancaster University, who explained that in 2015, a published study showed "that tissue-specific expansion of mutated mitochondrial DNA during development can occur and so could cause disease if levels are high enough". But mutations in these little organelles can be devastating, resulting in fatal diseases involving the nerves, muscles, brain, heart, liver, skeletal muscles, kidney and the endocrine and respiratory systems that often kill babies in the first few years of life.
Embryologists now say the medical breakthrough is a sign that couples may be able to avoid passing on genetic diseases in the future.
The birth of the baby boy is revealed in a research summary published by the journal Fertility & Sterility. The genes for the disease are found in DNA in the mitochondria, the "power packs" that provide energy to all living cells.
The fertility method is not legal in the United States. On the other hand, we have what appears to be a healthy baby.
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