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More Babies Ahead

A clinic in Mexico is planning to perform nearly two dozen mitochondrial replacement therapies in the first half of 2017, the New Scientist reports. The New Hope Fertility Center Mexico is where the first baby to be born following mitochondrial replacement therapy was created, it adds.

In this approach, nuclei obtained from the mother's eggs are inserted into donor eggs lacking nuclei; the resulting eggs are then fertilized with the father's sperm. In this way, children would inherit nuclear DNA from their mother and father, but mitochondria from the donor. The approach is touted as a way to lessen the chances that children would inherit a mitochondrial disorder . One study suggests, though, that there is still a chance that children could inherit high enough levels of their mothers' mitochondria for them to develop disease.

The New Scientist reports that the baby boy born earlier this year inherited low levels of his mother's mitochondria, but not to the degree that he has symptoms of Leigh syndrome. "Based on this mutation load, I don't think he will have any problems," says Taosheng Huang from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, who has conducted genetic analysis for the group.

The clinic's medical director, Alejandro Chavez-Badiola, tells the New Scientist that it is now working with additional families though the final decision to go forward with additional mitochondrial replacement therapies has yet to be made.