Using a new gene therapy treatment, scientist may have discovered a way to stop mother’s from transferring genetic diseases that could result in cardiovascular problems, mental illness, diabetes and more, according to a study recently published in Nature.
In a laboratory test, scientists have successfully replaced segments of defective DNA in a human egg with the equivalent DNA from a healthy egg donor NYC. Fertility experts believe the technique, if further developed and tested, could some day prevent women from passing on rare or deadly genetic disorders, putting an end to some conditions once and for all.
The breakthrough has put a new spotlight on donor eggs, and in vitro fertilization, as these treatments have been more commonly used to help women that have trouble conceiving due to poor ovarian reserve.
An estimated 1 out of every 5,000 to 10,000 babies is born with a disorder related to faulty DNA. Researchers said most of these disorders are due to mutations in one of 37 genes in cells that convert the energy from food into a form that our bodies can use known as miochondrial.
Mitochondria DNA is normally passed from mother to child unchanged. In the study, A team of researchers led by reproductive biologist Shoukhrat Mitalipov at Oregon Health & Science University used a technique where they mixed DNA from a healthy donor egg with the DNA of a donor egg that carried a genetic disorder.
The experiment was conducted on monkeys and resulted in successful live births, with the animals, now three years old, still living under healthy normal conditions.
In the past, researchers have tried to prevent mothers from passing on mitochondrial disease by screening the embryos as part of in-vitro fertilization, but that method possesses limitations and isn’t considered widely applicable.
This new method of transferring DNA would essentially give babies three-parents, the mother (who provides her share of the DNA), the father (who provides the sperm) and the donor (who provides the healthy DNA), and critics say this could raise ethical concerns. Regardless, the groundbreaking research is sure to be followed by more intensive studies and will continue to put a new meaning to what it means to become egg donor candidates.