May 31, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

3-parent IVF

3 min read

Today a new Nature paper from Dr. Mary Herbert’s group in the UK has found a key problem with mitochondrial replacement therapy that fits with data from others. The goal of preventing mitochondrial disease using various kinds of genome transfer technologies is a noble one, but mitochondrial replacement therapy has faced a number of technological challenges including perhaps most prominently the carryover and subsequent amplification of diseased mitochondria. This mitochondrial replacement carryover issue was clearly defined in an excellent recent Cell Stem Cell paper …Read More

5 min read

An important new Cell Stem Cell paper from Dieter Egli’s lab points to an inherent, serious problem with so-called 3-person IVF or mitochondrial replacement technology that warrants putting an immediate hold on all efforts to use it in humans. I have pasted the graphical abstract from the paper below. For years a few of us scientists and policy groups have argued strongly that this experimental technology is far too risky to try in humans for reproductive efforts in the near future. There were simply not enough …Read More

5 min read

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences (NAS), Engineering, and Medicine here in the US recommends a policy significantly more cautious on first read for 3-person IVF than that in place now in the UK. My initial take on this new 164-page report is that it is very well thought out and the recommendations are both appropriate and prudent. I’m still reading the report so it is possible I may feel differently at the end or that others may point out concerns …Read More

2 min read

On Monday, I’ll be doing another Reddit AMA, this time on 3-person IVF also known as 3-parent IVF, mitochondrial transfer, 3-parent babies, etc. You can see the upcoming AMAs including mine listed in the right sidebar here. Mine will start at 10AM PST/1PM EST. I hope to discuss with a wide audience all the key issues surrounding this exciting, but highly controversial technology just legalized in the UK. I will answer as many questions as possible. Here’s what the AMA intro will say: Science …Read More

2 min read

With the House of Lords vote yesterday, the UK officially became the only country in the world to have legalized human genetic modification. The point of this “mitochondrial transfer” or “3-person IVF” technology is not directly to genetically modify humans specifically, but it still will lead to that result in any case. The noble goal of this experiment is to prevent mitochondrial disease, but it is not quite that simple as the children produced (if any healthy children are produced) would have genomic elements …Read More

2 min read

What is one to do when the equivalent of the Surgeon General of the UK calls one’s concerns about something “bunk”? It sure gave me some pause. What’s going on? First, some brief background. The debate over 3-person IVF/mitochondrial transfer technology has been getting more heated. The epicenter for the discussion is the UK where the technology is part way through getting Parliamentary approval. In fact, it could be approved by the House of Lords as soon as tomorrow after it was approved by the House …Read More