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Br Med Bull. 2015 Sep;115(1):173-82. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldv037.

Social and ethical issues in mitochondrial donation.

Author information

1
Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK dimondr1@cardiff.ac.uk.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION OR BACKGROUND:

The UK is at the forefront of mitochondrial science and is currently the only country in the world to legalize germ-line technologies involving mitochondrial donation. However, concerns have been raised about genetic modification and the 'slippery slope' to designer babies.

SOURCES OF DATA:

This review uses academic articles, newspaper reports and public documents.

AREAS OF AGREEMENT:

Mitochondrial donation offers women with mitochondrial disease an opportunity to have healthy, genetically related children.

AREAS OF CONTROVERSY:

Key areas of disagreement include safety, the creation of three-parent babies, impact on identity, implications for society, definitions of genetic modification and reproductive choice.

GROWING POINTS:

The UK government legalized the techniques in March 2015. Scientific and medical communities across the world followed the developments with interest.

AREAS TIMELY FOR DEVELOPING RESEARCH:

It is expected that the first cohort of 'three parent' babies will be born in the UK in 2016. Their health and progress will be closely monitored.

KEYWORDS:

ethical issues; mitochondrial donation; reproduction

PMID:
26351372
PMCID:
PMC4562371
DOI:
10.1093/bmb/ldv037
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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