World's first baby born using three-parent DNA technique

A new reproductive technique in which a baby is produced with the genetic material from three distinct parents has yielded its first human.

A report in magazine says the baby boy was born five months ago in Mexico to Jordanian parents and is in good health.

The birth, of a boy, is revealed in a research summary published by the journal Fertility & Sterility.

Zhang plans to present the details of the case at the society's meeting next month in Salt Lake City. It's not clear where the child was born.

A spokesman for the New Hope Fertility said that Zhang had been working with the family since 2011 and could not comment on the legality of performing the procedure overseas. "No other technique has been established", Zhang told DailMail.

While she is healthy, the syndrome was responsible for the deaths of her first two children, so she sought out Dr Zhang's help. And embryologists believe this birth should fast-forward progress around the world, offering hope to millions who face the prospect of delivering terminally ill children.

With the new technique, in contrast, the baby got the mitochondria DNA from the donor egg, and the normal, non-mitochondrial DNA from the mother. He then fertilised the egg with the husband's sperm.

The result is a baby with 0.1% of their DNA from the donor (mitochondrial DNA) and all the genetic code for things like hair and eye colour from the mother and father.

The idea of three parent babies sparked criticism from some groups, which claim it could pave the way for "designer babies". The treatment is aimed at parents who have a high risk of passing on debilitating and even fatal genetic diseases to their children.

Unlike ordinary DNA, which has the genetic information that helps make us who we are, mitochondrial DNA provides power for the cell and has been compared to a battery.

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He was conceived from an egg containing nuclear DNA from his mother and father, and mitochondrial DNA from a "second" mother - an unknown female donor.

The research summary identified the mother as a 36-year-old woman and said her pregnancy was uneventful.

Because the couple were Muslims, Zhang used a specific technique for the birth that did not result in the destruction of embryos.

It means he has avoided inheriting a genetic condition from his Jordanian mother, Ibtisam Shaban, that could kill him.

But 37 maternal genes are passed to the child in each cell's mitochondria - the cell's "battery".

He told New Scientist: "To save lives is the ethical thing to do".

There are a number of theories that can be applied when using the so-called "three parent" technique but only United Kingdom law allows for such measures. Others also criticized the team for performing the procedure outside of regulatory medical frameworks.

Hank Greely, an ethics specialist at Harvard University, said on Tuesday he sees nothing wrong with using the technique if it is safe. "Right now it's just, 'We have done it.' It's a claim", says Dieter Egli, a stem cell biologist at Columbia University.

"We do not know exactly what was done".

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