The first baby conceived through a controversial new experimental technique of using DNA from two women in the embryo to prevent transmission of a hereditary disease from the mother, was born in April, announced Tuesday the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), sparking mixed reactions.
This world premiere was originally unveiled by the British science magazine New Scientist in its latest edition.
An international medical team led by Dr. John Zhang, from the New Hope Fertility Center in New York, used a new technique of transferring genetic material of the nucleus to prevent the mother from transmitting to her child genes responsible for Leigh syndrome, a rare inherited metabolic disorder.
This controversial method is not allowed in the United States, which led the medical team to perform this procedure in Mexico, where the child is born.
The Goal is to Minimize the Transmission of Defective Genes
The doctors transferred genetic material containing the mother’s chromosomes in a donor egg whose genetic material had been removed.
The woman who has benefited from this assisted reproduction procedure had already transmitted her genes with Leigh syndrome to ther previous two children, both of whom died of this disease. She also had two miscarriages.
To the extent that mitochondrial DNA is passed only through the mother, this technology minimizes the transmission of faulty maternal genes, says ASRM.