The World Welcomed its First ‘Designer’ Baby Recently 

We’ve blogged about research into 3-parent IVF designer babies before here in 2014 and here in 2012 but it looks like they’re here!

Well one anyway.

A couple gave birth in April to a baby who has DNA from his mom and dad; and also from a donor whose  DNA was used to replace a portion of mom’s DNA with a genetic predisposition to a deadly disease.

According to NYMag, a Jordanian couple welcomed a son on April 6, 2016 after going to Mexicio to have genetic splicing done to make sure the baby wouldn’t inherit a fatal condition.

He is said to be the world’s first so-called three-parent baby using a new IVF technique.

Mom carries a fatal disorder called Leigh syndrome. She had four miscarriages and lost two children, one at age 6 and another at 8 months to the disorder.

The genes for Leigh syndrome (and several other debilitating and fatal diseases) are found in mitochondrial DNA, which is passed only from mothers to their children. The three-parent-baby IVF technique replaces a mother’s mitochondrial DNA with that from a donor.

It is important to note that the technique has no effect on appearance or personality traits.

The U.K. approved the procedure in 2015 for research for purposes of studying why some embryos result in miscarriage 

A couple of years ago, the US Food and Drug Administration held hearings to discuss proposals to do the same here but it ultimately was not approved.

There is much opposition to this technique which ethicists say may eventually lead to designer babies where parents mess with a future baby’s DNA in order to welcome a baby with socially preferable features: think blue eyes, blonde hair, chiseled cheekbones, high IQ.etc.

Religious groups were concerned that researchers would harvest eggs not to be fertilized but to be destroyed later.

Because of the opposition and limits on use of the technique in the Western world, the couple went to Mexico to get the splicing done because regulations there are lax.

It reminds me of Gattaca, that Ethan Hawke Sci Fi movie about designer super  humans that the government bred for its army of perfect agents.

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