Preventing Mitochondrial Diseases image

Trends in Molecular Medicine, Volume 24, Issue 5 (May 2018)
Eli Y. Adashi and I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)


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Mutant mitochondrial DNA gives rise to a broad range of incurable inborn maladies. Prevention may now be possible by replacing the mutation-carrying mitochondria of zygotes or oocytes at risk with donated unaffected counterparts. However, mitochondrial replacement therapy is being held back by theological, ethical, and safety concerns over the loss of human zygotes and the involvement of a donor. These concerns make it plain that the identification, validation, and regulatory adjudication of novel embryo-sparing donor-independent technologies remains a pressing imperative. This Opinion highlights three emerging embryo-sparing donor-independent options that stand to markedly allay theological, ethical, and safety concerns raised by mitochondrial replacement therapy.

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bioethics biotechnology genetics religion reproductive technologies