World’s first three-parent baby boy born in Mexico: All you should know about it

  • A Jordanian couple became proud parents of the world’s first three-parent baby boy, born in Mexico. The feat was achieved with the help of a new albeit controversial fertility technique that incorporates DNA of three people in an embryo.
  • The successful birth of the baby boy has opened up a new window of possibility for parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy baby.
  • The technique also known as mitochondrial donation or mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) has helped the couple have their child as the mother had earlier suffered four pregnancy losses.

Here is everything that you should know about the first three parent baby:

  • The mother in this case had genes with Leigh Syndrome, which is a fatal genetic disorder that affects the brain, muscles and nerves of the growing infant. Earlier, she had delivered two children one of whom survived less than a year and another lived only for six days, as a result of the syndrome
  • To ensure the birth of a healthy baby the doctors used ‘spindle nuclear transfer’, which involves adding some genes from a donor woman to the mother’s egg and then fertilizing the egg with the father’s sperm to create an embryo
  • This embryo was then implanted into the mother and the child was born in April this year, nine moths from the day of implantation
  • The boy’s mitochondria was tested and was found to have less than 1 per cent  of mitochondria which carried the mutation .

What is mitochondria?

  • Mitochondria are structures within cells that create energy to run the cell. They carry 37 genes of their own and  are passed intact from the mother to child through the egg.
  • Irrespective of a person’s gender, they inherit the mitochondrial DNA from their mothers, who in turn got it from their mothers and so on.
  • However, there are times when a woman may be born with a mutation in her mitochondrial DNA. Though genetic defects may not cause negative health effects for her, they could cause a mild or severe disorder if passed on to a child.

What is mitochondrial replacement therapy?

  • It is a technique in which the defective mitochondria of a mother is replaced by a donor’s healthy mitochondria
  • With the help of Invitro fertilisation technique (IVF), the egg is then fertilized with the father’s sperm. Hence, the chances of the embryo being affected by the defect is removed
  •  There are two types of mitochondrial donation techniques namely maternal spindle transfer and pro nuclear transfer
  • The technique helps parents get a chance of having a healthy baby which is over 99 per cent genetically matched to them and at the same time is free of the mitochondrial syndrome.

Source: India Today

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