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The world’s first three-parent baby boy was born in Mexico to a Jordanian couple with the help a controversial new fertility technique that incorporates DNA from three people in the embryo.
The ‘three-parent’ technique also known as Mitochondrial donation (Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy) allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies.
What is the case?
- The boy’s mother was carrying genes for Leigh syndrome, a fatal genetic disorder that affects the brain, muscles and nerves of developing infants.
- Genes for the genetic disease reside in DNA in the mitochondria (powerhouse of the cell), which provide energy for our cells.
- In this case spindle nuclear transfer was used to remove the faulty nucleus from one of the mother’s eggs and inserted it into a donor egg that 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 to create embryos.
- This embryo was implanted in the mother and the child was born nine months later in April 2016.
- Researchers have tested the boy’s mitochondria and found it contains less than 1% mutation.
What is Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy (MRT)
- MRT or Mitochondrial donation is a medical technique in which defective mitochondria carried by a woman is replaced with the healthy mitochondria of a donor.
- Through invitro fertilization technique (IVF), the egg is then fertilised with the partner’s sperm. Thus the embryo remains free from any such defects.
- The two most common techniques in mitochondrial donation are maternal spindle transfer and pronuclear transfer.
- Thus this medical technique prevents the transmission of mitochondrial (genetic) disease from one generation to the next.
- MRT proposes to give parents chance of having a child that is over 99% genetically matched to them and most importantly free of the mitochondrial disease.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has selected Mexican diplomat Patricia Espinosa as the executive secretary of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).
She will replace the incumbent Christiana Figueres when her term ends in July 2016. Prior to this selection she was serving as Mexico’s ambassador to Germany
Earlier she had served as Mexico’s representative at the UN in New York for drug traffic, human rights, women promotion, social development and children’s rights.
In her new role, she will play an important role in implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change that was approved by 195 countries in December 2015 during UNFCCC’s COP 21 held in Paris, France.
About UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)
- The UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty negotiated at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and entered into force in 1994.
- It has near universal membership as it has 196 countries and European Union (EU) as its members.
- It is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol which was ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties.
- The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas (GHGs) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.