Okay…so the news is full of the first baby to have allegedly been born with DNA from three people (sperm and egg from a man and a woman and mitochondrial DNA from a second woman). The baby is five months old, according to New Scientist. So, how come earlier this year (June, to be precise), the likes of Fergus Walsh were talking about the procedure being safe and others suggesting that a 3p baby might be born within a year? This conception was presumably being kept secret until the New Sci exclusive revealed all today, but there must have been plenty of people who knew about it.
Anyway, in saying it’s a first did they forget about American girl Alana Saarinen who was conceived of three parents and born in 2000 before the US banned this technique? There was an earlier birth too, Emma Ott (born in 1997), although her DNA proved to be from only two parents according to genetic tests despite the procedure having been employed in her conception.
The 3p technique could solve the problem of certain mitochondrial genetic disease by using healthy DNA from the “third parent”. The newborn has Jordanian parents and the procedure was carried out in Mexico by a US team.
Alison Murdoch, who heads the Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life, Newcastle University, is one of those at the forefront of this research in the UK. The Telegraph quotes her: “If this baby has been born as suggested then that would be great news. The translation of mitochondrial donation to a clinical procedure is not a race but a goal to be achieved with caution to ensure both safety and reproducibility,” she says.