Year in review: ‘Three-parent baby’ technique raises hope and concern | Science News

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Year in review: ‘Three-parent baby’ technique raises hope and concern

Safety and ethical questions surround controversial mitochondrial replacement therapy

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7:39am, December 14, 2016
Embryo

SPINDLE SWAP  A boy born in April has DNA from mom and dad, as well as mitochondria from a female donor. To make "three-parent" embryos, the chromosome-containing spindle, shown at the tip of the pipette, is removed from a woman's egg and inserted into a donor egg.

A “three-parent baby” was born in April, the world’s first reported birth from a controversial technique designed to prevent mitochondrial diseases from passing from mother to child.

“As far as we can tell, the baby is normal and free of disease,” says Andrew R. La Barbera, chief scientific officer of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. “This demonstrates that, in point of fact, the procedure works.”

The baby boy carries DNA not only from his mother and father but also from an egg donor, raising both safety and ethical concerns. In particular, people worry that alterations of the genetic makeup of

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