MITOCHONDRIAL DONATION TREATMENT

  • A baby was born using three persons DNA in the UK.
  • The Baby technically, has three parents, deriving the mitochondria from a donor apart from the genetic material (DNA) from biological parents.
  • The need for using this pioneering technology was aimed to prevent the child inheriting the mother’s mitochondrial disease.
  • In this particular case the mother had a mitochondrial disease that did not intent to pass on to her baby. Also, the mother did not want to have a donor egg because the baby would also carry the genetic material of the
  • Mitochondria are basically the powerhouses of the cells, they generate the energy, and thus are also responsible for cell function in the human body.
  • Certain defects might occur impacting on the way the mitochondria produce energy for the cells and thereby impacting cell function.
  • The diseases that arise out of such mitochondrial mutations are called mitochondrial diseases.
  • When the mitochondria are impaired and do not produce sufficient energy, it could lead to lead to brain damage, organ failure and muscle wastage.
  • The symptoms get more and more debilitating as a child grows, and have no cure, but can be treated.

The scientific process to treat Mitochondrial disease

  • Mitochondrial diseases are only passed on by the mother, and research has been attempting to find a way out of protecting the infant from inheriting the disease.
  • Through an advanced ‘In Vitro Fertilization technique’, the baby’s biological father’s sperm was used to fertilize the eggs from the biological mother, who has a mitochondrial disease, and a third female donor with clear mitochondria, separately.
  • Then, the nuclear genetic material from the donor’s egg is removed and replaced with the genetic material from the biological parents.
  • The final product i.e. the egg – which has the genetic material (DNA) from the parents, and the mitochondria from the female donor, is implanted in the uterus, and carried to full term to yield a baby.
  • Such a baby when born will be free from the mother’s mitochondrial disease. This process is termed Mitochondrial Donation Treatment (MDT).

​​Side effects to the procedure

  • In the Mitochondrial Donation Treatment there is a possibility that a small amount of the maternal mitochondria with errors may get passed on during the procedure. However more ore published data is needed to establish consensus.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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