In a groundbreaking scientific first for the UK, the first baby created with DNA from three people has been born, BBC reported. In this procedure, 99.8% of the DNA comes from the two parents, with the rest from a female donor. The pioneering technique is an attempt to prevent children from being born with devastating mitochondrial diseases.
Known as mitochondrial donation treatment (MDT), the technique uses tissue from the eggs of healthy female donors to create IVF embryos that are free from harmful mutations their mothers carry and are likely to pass on to their children.
Notably, Mitochondrial diseases are incurable and can be fatal within days or even hours of birth. They are passed down only by the mother, so mitochondrial donation treatment is a modified form of IVF that uses mitochondria from a healthy donor egg.
The baby will have nuclear DNA from its mother and father which define key characteristics such as personality and eye colour. In addition, it will have a tiny amount of mitochondrial DNA provided by a female donor.
Doctors at the clinic in Newcastle in England’s north-east where the breakthrough baby was born have not released details of birth from the MDT program.
Dagan Wells, a professor of reproductive genetics at the University of Oxford who took part in the UK breakthrough told The Guardian that the clinical experience with MRT was ”encouraging” but the number of reported cases was ”far too small” to draw any definitive conclusions about the ”safety or efficacy”.
The UK is not the first country to create babies from MDT. The first baby born via this technique was to a Jordanian family having treatment in the US in 2016.