Wednesday, September 28, 2016

First Baby Born With Three Bio Parent Technique

This blog is about adult relationships, not about reproductive technologies, but the issue of reproduction and raising children is often brought into discussions about how laws treat same-sex, polyamorous, and consanguinamorous relationships. So with that in mind, it was interesting to see this report from Kerry Sheridan at
The world's first baby has been born using a controversial new technique by US scientists to include DNA from three parents in the embryo, said a report.
The baby boy was born five months ago in Mexico to Jordanian parents, and is healthy and doing well, said the report in New Scientist magazine, described as an "exclusive."
That's good news.
The boy's mother carried genes for a disorder known as Leigh Syndrome, a fatal nervous system disorder which she had passed on to her two previous children who both died of the disease.

She had also suffered four miscarriages.
The woman, whose identity was withheld by New Scientist, and her husband sought the help of John Zhang, a doctor from the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City to have a baby that would be genetically related to them but would not carry the inherited disease.
That is the big draw with this; having a child genetically related to both or all of the people in the relationship while avoiding serious diseases and disorders.
Since the mother carried the genes for the disease in her mitochondria, or DNA that is passed down from the maternal side, Zhang used her nuclear DNA and combined it with mitochondria from an egg donor, in a technique known as spindle nuclear transfer.

"He removed the nucleus from one of the mother's eggs and inserted it into a donor egg that had had its own nucleus removed," said the report.

"The resulting egg –- with nuclear DNA from the mother and mitochondrial DNA from a donor -– was then fertilized with the father's sperm."

For now, it is being used to avoid deadly disorders, but as the technology advances and becomes more affordable, it could be used on an elective basis.
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  1. The "first baby in the world" part is confusing, I remember reading maybe, maybe about a year ago (definitely remember reading it) that the same thing was done in England (I think England at least), but the child was, at the time, either 10 or 12 years old. Glad to see that this type of reproductive technology is becoming more available & affordable, especially in this case with the parents previously losing two children and miscarrying four times.

  2. I hope that this is just the first step to being able to reduce or eliminate genetic problems and disorders. It would help so many people, and hopefully eliminate that tired argument from people that consanguinamorous relationships lead to children with problems.

    -Liz Smith

  3. I’m not sure if this wil help parents in consanguineous relationships though—in this particular case it was used to avoid passing on a particular genetic defect in the mtDNA, but in consanguineous couples there isn’t one particular gene that needs to be avoided; the parents are healthy. The problem is that the alleles between related parents are strongly homozygous. I don’t *think* using the mtDNA from a 3rd party donor would help that much, although I admit I’m not an expert. Maybe you can find to ask someone who is?


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