A pioneering technique was used in a fertilization experiment in the UK, in Newcastle, to have a baby using three people’s DNA and the first such baby was born. The aim of the treatment is to avoid women passing on defective genes in the mitochondria. To be more precise, it was an attempt to prevent children being born with incurable deadly mitochondrial diseases which can produce brain damage, muscle wasting, heart failure and blindness. Technically, most of DNA comes from the two parents and around 0.1% from a third, donor woman. The permanent change would be passed down through the generations. The third donor does not constitute a „third parent”, in this case the DNA does not affect other traits such the appearance of the baby.
The law to permit the creation of a baby using this technique (the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act) was adopted in the UK in 2015. The first baby was born to a Jordanian family. They had treatment in the US in 2016. However, it;s not known at this time if the technique was successful. Prof Robin Lovell-Badge, from the Francis Crick Research Institute, said: “It will be interesting to know how well the mitochondrial replacement therapy technique worked at a practical level, whether the babies are free of mitochondrial disease, and whether there is any risk of them developing problems later in life.” Britain became the first country in the world to formally allow mitochondrial replacement therapy.