A piece of news that at first glance could cause a sensation: according to what was recently stated, a small number of children with DNA from three different people they were born in the UK. It is a technique used to create “triparental” embryos – perfectly legal – which has been used today with success.
According to an investigation by the Guardian, in fact, fewer than five babies were born following Mitochondrial Donation Treatment (MDT), as of April 2023. Only one clinic, Newcastle Fertility Centre, is licensed to carry out the procedure. However, these babies aren’t the first to be born using this technique, as the first was born in early 2016 in Mexico.
Why use the DNA of three people? To treat a genetic disease called mitochondrial disease. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited via the mother, and the purpose of this procedure is to exchange genetic material from an embryo’s biological parents into a new donor egg cell, containing healthy mitochondria.
The goal is simple: to produce embryos containing a complete set of chromosomes from the biological parents (approximately 99.8% of the total genetic material) as well as a small number of mitochondrial genes from a donor egg cell for replace the mutated mitochondrial DNA from the mother. “So far, clinical experience has been encouraging, but the number of reported cases is too small to draw firm conclusions on safety or efficacysaid Dagan Wells, professor of reproductive genetics at the University of Oxford.