Bioethics News

3-Person Embryos May Fail to Vanquish Mutant Mitochondria

May 19, 2016

(Scientific American) – A gene-therapy technique that aims to prevent mothers from passing on harmful genes to children through their mitochondria — the cell’s energy-producing structures — might not always work. Mitochondrial replacement therapy involves swapping faulty mitochondria for those of a healthy donor. But if even a small number of mutant mitochondria are retained after the transfer — a common occurrence — they can outcompete healthy mitochondria in a child’s cells and potentially cause the disease the therapy was designed to avoid, experiments suggest.

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