When two parents lack the DNA for a healthy baby, can a third person help?

The long-held belief that we get half our genes from our father and the other half from our mother may not be as accurate as we once thought…

The culprit is the mitochondria, which, thanks to memes, we all know is the “powerhouse of the cell” — but the mitochondria is much more than that when it comes to fertilization. Sometimes, in the case of genetic diseases, its function can be deadly. But thanks to pioneer physician John Zhang and his team, families with a known history of genetic diseases may have the opportunity to raise a healthy child through the conception of a 3-parent-baby.

…Zhang used mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) to help a 36-year-old woman to conceive a child. While the woman is asymptomatic of Leigh syndrome…a severe neurobiological disorder that impairs the central nervous system and becomes apparent in the first year of life, often leading to death several years later.

Using an electrofusion technique, which combines different cells with an electric current, the team transferred the mother’s genome into a donated egg with healthy mitochondria. The hybrid egg was then fertilized by the father’s sperm and transferred to the mother’s womb.

While many are terrified that MRT will evolve into eugenics and designer babies, it’s obvious that without MRT, Zhang’s patient may have never had her little boy.

[Editor’s note: The study can be found here.]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Genetics 2.0: Scientists Have Officially Created a New Kind of Child

For more background on the Genetic Literacy Project, read GLP on Wikipedia

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