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Thursday, September 29, 2016
THE BABY WITH 3 PARENTS
Dr. John Zhang
From Seattle Times: Scientists say the first baby has been born from a controversial new technique that combines DNA from three people — the mother, the father and an egg donor. The goal was to prevent the child from inheriting a fatal genetic disease from his mother, who had previously lost two children to the illness.
The birth of the boy is revealed in a research summary published by the journal Fertility & Sterility. Scientists are scheduled to present details at a meeting next month in Salt Lake City.
The magazine New Scientist, which first reported the birth, said the baby was born five months ago to Jordanian parents, and that they were treated in Mexico by a team led by Dr. John Zhang of the New Hope Fertility Center in New York. It’s not clear where the child was born.
The technique is not approved in the United States, but Zhang told the magazine, “To save lives is the ethical thing to do.” A spokesman for the fertility center said Zhang was not available for further comment on Tuesday. Others involved in the research referred questions to Zhang.
The mother carries DNA that could have given her child Leigh syndrome, a severe neurological disorder that usually kills within a few years of birth. Her two previous children died of the disease at 8 months and 6 years, the research summary said.
The technique involved removing some of the mother’s DNA from an egg, and leaving the disease-causing DNA behind. The healthy DNA was slipped into a donor’s egg, which was then fertilized. As a result, the baby inherited DNA from both parents and the egg donor. The technique is sometimes said to produce “three-parent babies,” but the DNA contribution from the egg donor is very small.