The New York-based doctor who helped a couple have a child using DNA from three people has been told by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that he can’t go ahead with clinical trials meant to test the technique. Last year, John Zhang, the founder of New Hope Fertility Center, pioneered a new type of in-vitro fertilization that involves transferring DNA from the mother’s egg into a hollowed-out egg donated by a younger woman. But the work violates federal legislation that forbids implanting genetically modified embryos, so after fertilizing the egg with the father’s sperm, Zhang went to Mexico, where he inserted the embryo into the mother’s womb. A healthy baby boy was born in April 2016. On Friday, the FDA sent Zhang a strongly worded letter saying he must stop marketing the technique in the U.S. The move is a sign that the federal government is taking a hard line against the development of technologies to make genetically altered babies, even in cases where doing so would prevent severe disease.
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