First-ever baby born with DNA from three people

Robert Valencia | Flickr
Robert Valencia | Flickr

-  Scientists say the first baby has been born from a new technique that combines DNA from three people.

The goal is to prevent the child from inheriting a fatal genetic disease from the mother.

The birth, of a boy, is revealed in a research summary published by the journal Fertility & Sterility. Scientists are scheduled to make a fuller presentation at a meeting next month.

The magazine New Scientist 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. 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 child was at risk of inheriting DNA for Leigh syndrome, a severe neurological disorder that usually kills within a few years of birth. Only a minority of Leigh syndrome cases are inherited through the type of DNA that is targeted by the new method.

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.

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