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The First-Ever Baby With Three Parents Was Born This Year

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Scientists say that the first baby has been born with DNA from three people—mom, dad and donor.

According to CNN, the mother of the child had a mutation in her mitochondrial DNA, and all mothers pass on these genes to the baby through the egg. The mitochondria creates energy by taking in nutrients and breaking them down.

The mother’s DNA was believed to have caused Leigh syndrome, an often fatal neurological disorder, in her previous two children, the Associated Press reports. Both children passed away, one at 6 years old and one at only 8 months old.

In order to combat this, a team of doctors lead by Dr. John Zhang, founder of the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City, decided to try out a controversial procedure using the DNA from three individuals. According to CNN, since the Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved this procedure, the medical team headed to Mexico, which doesn't have the same rigorous regulations.

The procedure required that some of the mother’s DNA be extracted from the egg, leaving behind the disease-causing DNA, the AP reports. The mother’s DNA was then inserted into the donor’s egg and fertilized. As a result, the child, who was born on April 6, got DNA from the parents and the donor.

Experts, however, have criticized this procedure. Lori P. Knowles, assistant professor at the University of Alberta School of Public Health, told CNN, “It's unfortunate to have people decide they're just going to quite willingly engage in this kind of reproductive tourism—to go outside of a system that is in place to create the safest, most scientifically reproducible way forward. That's the precedent then, that if you think you can do it, then let's just hop the border and see what happens, hope for the best.”

This prodcedure is so new that other doctors are worried the baby might have health problems later on—we just don't know, because the procedure hasn't been done before. But let's all wish this baby a long, happy and healthy life!


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