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Science

World's First Baby Born With New '3 Parent' Technique (newscientist.com) 203

A five-month-old baby boy has been revealed as the first kid in the world with three biological parents, reports New Scientist. The baby boy was apparently conceived by a technique that has been legally approved in the UK, and lets parents with genetic disorders have healthy babies. Though, the method used in this particular cases was slightly different from one legalized in the UK. From the report: Zhang (a doctor) took a different approach, called spindle nuclear transfer. He removed the nucleus from one of the mother's eggs and inserted it into a donor egg that had had its own nucleus removed. The resulting egg -- with nuclear DNA from the mother and mitochondrial DNA from a donor -- was then fertilised with the father's sperm. Zhang's team used this approach to create five embryos, only one of which developed normally. This embryo was implanted in the mother and the child was born nine months later. "It's exciting news," says Bert Smeets at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. The team will describe the findings at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's Scientific Congress in Salt Lake City in October.
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World's First Baby Born With New '3 Parent' Technique

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  • Are you sure Zhang isn't an auto mechanic?
  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @02:20PM (#52970889)

    >> "It's exciting news," says Bert Smeets

    I REALLY don't get how making more humans (even wierd hybrids) is meant to be somehow self-evidently always a good thing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Empiric ( 675968 )

      Particularly when it leads to definitional collapse leaving people with (or making them realize they always had) the question of what specifically justifies for them and their particular DNA pattern the specially-treated category of "human".

      I suggest the differentiator of a "soul".

      Your mileage, and your logically-unavoidable results, may vary.

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        > I suggest the differentiator of a "soul".

        Which is what exactly? I mean there is no proof that it even exists, let alone a good definition of exactly what it is.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Only two groups of people think about their mitochondria DNA.
        1) scientists studying mitochondria
        2) people with malfunctioning mitochondria

        There is no failure of definition here, the DNA that defines human form and function is entirely the merge of a half set from the father and a half set from the mother. Just as through a natural conception. In theory, it should be possible to extract mitochondria from the father and implant those into an egg cell to maintain even more familial connection, but such a pro

      • I suggest the differentiator of a "soul".

        I've got soul. And I'm super-bad.

    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

      I REALLY don't get how you found a dictionary that defines exciting as good.

    • Yep, because you got here and get to experience the world so who cares about anyone else, right?

    • From a science standpoint its amazing stuff, but when there are so many unwanted children out there, it kind of makes you go.. huh... I had a boss that spent hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fertility treatments for his wife so that they could conceive, again.. huh..

      Of course, I had two children with my wife, when we were both over 35 without really trying, so the genetic imperative wasn't really an issue for me. I'd like to think I would be just as fulfilled with adopted kids, or no kids,
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @04:27PM (#52971873)

      Well TBH the summary omits the most major point of the thing. Which is the REASON WHY!
      Here, dear readers, is the reason why they did it:

      - The mom had been pregnant with about five other kids before. They all died early, before three years of age.
      - She has a condition that all her past babies are guaranteed to be born with, and remember they will all die early.
      - So that gene was removed from her eggs and replaced with a stable gene from another.
      - She gives birth to a disease free child.

      That's why it's "good news" to her and the doctors. Any exaggerative thoughts about super-babies, etc is just worrysome fodder.

      TL;DR? read the article.

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        Remind me again why society thinks everyone who wants a child MUST get one? ...or why they couldn't have adopted?

    • Because the making is done in countries where the population is shrinking or can barely be hold constant by immigration.

      OTOH the planet easily can hold 3 - 5 times the population. Get out from under your rock, we are not n the 1970s anymore ...

    • Don't they know there's a way to create babies that is a whole lot more fun and it has worked for hundreds of thousands of years?

      If the parents cannot physically have children, then I suggest adoption. There are always more children awaiting adoption than parents willing to adopt them.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        In some developed countries, in any given year, there may be no children awaiting adoption at all.

        I live in one of those countries. Here, it's quite okay to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, or it's quite okay to be a single parent, so babies are rarely (if ever) abandoned or put up for adoption. It's pretty rare for both parents to die leaving orphans, too, and in those very rare cases, the child's grandparents are usually able to adopt the child immediately.

        This leaves thousands of childless couples just a

  • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @02:26PM (#52970931)

    It takes a village...

  • And then eat your brains. You should find a good place to hide Mr. Doctorman.

  • by rlp ( 11898 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @02:40PM (#52971009)

    Congratulations, Ms Singh, your newborn child has been engineered to be superior in every way. And yes, 'Khan' is an excellent name.

  • As the one thing we're running out of is people (adoptable trash need not apply).

    One thing that needs excised from DNA is the lizard-brained drive to spread our bloodline above all else, damned be the cost or consequence.
  • The resulting egg -- with nuclear DNA from the mother and mitochondrial DNA from a donor

    Popular donor, Luke Skywalker will be.

  • That's a heck of a way to have a three-way. Doesn't sound like it's as much fun though...

  • Heather Really Has Two Mommies!

  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @03:38PM (#52971467)

    Yes, a lot of work went in, but ultimately, all of the *significant* genetic material came from two parents. Passing on your mitochondrial DNA doesn't do anything to really shape your offspring (unless your mitochondrial DNA is just *really* messed up). Now if the donor egg somehow had defective Mitocondrial DNA, ok, this is at least somewhat useful.

    But pretending this offspring has three equally biological parents is disingenuous.

    • But pretending this offspring has three equally biological parents is disingenuous.

      They're not equal in parentage, but they're definitely equal in being biological donors whose DNA pass on to future generations.

      I don't think anything equates them as being equal, but it's still an awful lot of genetic material to not be considered for biological parentage at all.

      • by Junta ( 36770 )

        they're definitely equal in being biological donors whose DNA pass on to future generations.

        Passing on mitochondrial DNA doesn't really count.

        • I count it. You don't. Without any useful argument, that's pretty much it. Mitochondrial DNA carries all sorts of information setting up how metabolism is carried out, which is as much a part of a person as how their kidneys are made.

  • Now all the usual forms and databases are going to have to be reworked. And they may not stop at 3 parents, so design it for many parents.

    Next the baby will be able to be its own parent, creating recursion. You go to print out a family tree, and get a Stack Overflow error.

  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @04:36PM (#52971947)

    Okay, this may be the world's first baby, but there are apparently 30-50 teenagers with three parents.

    The girl with three biological parents [bbc.com]

    The technique was pioneered in the late 1990s, but then the US FDA said "please cut it out", and as far as we know everyone did.

    So, yes, the future looks bright for this new baby, given that several dozen other beneficiaries of this technique seem to be doing quite well in their teenage years...

  • Lots of government preprinted forms might need replacing.
    This will cost us a fortune. :-)

    As for the Subject, in this case, Inigo Montoya, it really is.

  • Now we're going to have to come up with a love song for that.
  • that we should bring another woman into the bedroom. It's in the service of science!

    A five-month-old baby boy has been revealed as the first kid in the world with three biological parents

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