New Details in Controversial 3-Person Baby Procedure

A controversial three-person baby procedure meant to protect the baby from a rare neurological disease may not have been as effective as originally touted. Nature reports a paper published in Reproductive Biomedicine Online reveals new details about the baby's birth.  

Sequence Media Group reported the birth of the first three-person baby six months ago. Physician John Zhang and his team at New Hope Fertility Center in New York City are behind the procedure, which combines DNA from three different people. The boy's mother carries Leigh syndrome, which is characterized by progressive loss of mental and physical abilities. During the procedure, Zhang removed the nucleus from a healthy donor egg and inserted the nucleus from the mother's egg cell in its place. The healthy mitochondria remained. The egg, which held DNA from both the mother and donor, was then fertilized with the father's sperm.

Nature reports the study published in Reproductive Biomedicine Online reveals some of the DNA from the mother, which again carried Leigh syndrome, was mistakenly carried over into the donor egg. According to Nature, in the study, Zhang tested the boy after birth and found small percentages of his mother's DNA in his organs. As of now, scientists don't know how this discovery will affect the boy's health. Nature reports the boy's parents have refused any further mitochondrial testing for research.