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Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques: Ethical, Social, and Policy Considerations

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Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques

Ethical, Social, and Policy Considerations (2016)
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Mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRTs) are designed to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) diseases from mother to child. While MRTs, if effective, could satisfy a desire of women seeking to have a genetically related child without the risk of passing on mtDNA disease, the technique raises significant ethical and social issues. It would create offspring who have genetic material from two women, something never sanctioned in humans, and would create mitochondrial changes that could be heritable (in female offspring), and therefore passed on in perpetuity. The manipulation would be performed on eggs or embryos, would affect every cell of the resulting individual, and once carried out this genetic manipulation is not reversible.

Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques considers the implications of manipulating mitochondrial content both in children born to women as a result of participating in these studies and in descendants of any female offspring. This study examines the ethical and social issues related to MRTs, outlines principles that would provide a framework and foundation for oversight of MRTs, and develops recommendations to inform the Food and Drug Administration’s consideration of investigational new drug applications.


Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques: Ethical, Social, and Policy Considerations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

200 pages | 6 x 9
  • Paperback: 978-0-309-38870-2
  • Ebook: 978-0-309-38873-3

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