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Mitochondrial Modification Techniques and Ethical Issues

OPEN Journal of clinical medicine | 2 Mar 2017

L Gómez-Tatay, JM Hernández-Andreu and J Aznar
Abstract
Current strategies for preventing the transmission of mitochondrial disease to offspring include techniques known as mitochondrial replacement and mitochondrial gene editing. This technology has already been applied in humans on several occasions, and the first baby with donor mitochondria has already been born. However, these techniques raise several ethical concerns, among which is the fact that they entail genetic modification of the germline, as well as presenting safety problems in relation to a possible mismatch between the nuclear and mitochondrial DNA, maternal mitochondrial DNA carryover, and the “reversion” phenomenon. In this essay, we discuss these questions, highlighting the advantages of some techniques over others from an ethical point of view, and we conclude that none of these are ready to be safely applied in humans.
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Concepts
Ethics, Gene, Bacteria, Mitochondrial disease, Cell, Mitochondrion, Mitochondrial DNA, DNA
MeSH headings
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