World's First Baby Born with 3 Biological Parents from Banned Procedure
A baby is born from a controversial procedure that combines DNA from 3 people.
A healthy baby boy was born utilizing a new "3 parent" technique, which combines DNA from 3 people. The technique is controversial and is, in fact, banned in the U.S. This did not stop a US-based team to perform the procedure in Mexico for a Jordanian couple in what is being called a breakthrough for fertility medicine.
The mother of the boy carries genes for the fatal Leigh Syndrome, which affects a developing child's nervous system. The syndrome affects a quarter of her mitochondria, which is responsible for providing energy to cells. The couple already lost two children to the genetic abnormality, one at age 6 and one at only 8 months old.
To overcome the mutations in the mother's mitochondria, the DNA from her egg was placed in a healthy egg from a donor, which first had its nuclear DNA removed. Then this resulting egg was fertilized with the father's sperm.
The procedure has been controversial because it utilizes genetic material from a third person in addition to the couple. Critics see such research as going down the slippery slope of genetic engineering while scientists hail it as groundbreaking.
“This is huge,” told Dr. Richard J. Paulson, president-elect of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, to the New York Times.
Scientists hope that the success in this case can start changing attitudes towards procedures such mitochondrial transfers which they believe can help people. They point out that it's not really appropriate to call this a "3 parent" procedure.
As Dr. Paulson explained: “Mitochondria do not define who you are.” This is because genetic material for how a person looks and other characteristics are carried in the nuclear DNA, which is stripped from the donor's eggs in this technique.
The team performing the procedure was led by Dr. John Zhang, medical director of the New Hope Fertility Center in New York. His previous attempt to carry out the procedure in China in 2013 was unsuccessful.
Here's a helpful video from the New Scientist which summarizes the technique:
The pandemic reminds us that our higher education system, with all its flaws, remains a key part of our strategic reserve.
- America's higher education system is under great scrutiny as it adapts to a remote-learning world. These criticisms will only make higher ed more innovative.
- While there are flaws in the system and great challenges ahead, higher education has adapted quickly to allow students to continue learning. John Katzman, CEO of online learning organization Noodle Partners, believes this is cause for optimism not negativity.
- Universities are pillars of scientific research on the COVID-19 frontlines, they bring facts in times of uncertainty and fake news, and, in a bad economy, education is a personal floatation device.
Meteorologists propose a stunning new explanation for the mysterious events in the Bermuda Triangle.
One of life's great mysteries, the Bermuda Triangle might have finally found an explanation. This strange region, that lies in the North Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been the presumed cause of dozens and dozens of mind-boggling disappearances of ships and planes.
A debate is raging inside and outside of churches.
- Over 1,200 pastors in California claim they're opening their churches this week against state orders.
- While church leaders demand independence from governmental oversight, 9,000 Catholic churches have received small business loans.
- A number of re-opened churches shut back down after members and clergy became infected with the novel coronavirus.
An MIT system uses wireless signals to measure in-home appliance usage to better understand health tendencies.
For many of us, our microwaves and dishwashers aren't the first thing that come to mind when trying to glean health information, beyond that we should (maybe) lay off the Hot Pockets and empty the dishes in a timely way.