January 24, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

mitochondrial transfer

4 min read

Each year towards the end of December I make predictions for the coming year as I did for 2015. In the past I usually make a top 10 prediction list, but for this year I made 20 predictions. Admittedly some of them may have been more hopes than predictions. At mid-year today on June 30th, how am I doing with 2015 predictions? See below. Note that of course for some the jury is still out. BTW, stay tuned for more on an upcoming update …Read More

5 min read

The Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte group published a Cell paper today on using gene editing to reverse mutations associated with human mitochondrial disease. The paper is Reddy, et al. and is entitled, “Selective Elimination of Mitochondrial Mutations in the Germline by Genome Editing”. The authors report success using TALEN-based gene editing or mitochondrial-direct restriction enzyme (mito-ApaLI) to reduce the burden of mutant mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Their work was done primarily in mice, but also using chimeras made with murine oocytes fused with human cells bearing …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 via 3-Person IVF. 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 …Read More

3 min read

There’s been some back and forth between me and some members of the UK Parliament and others in the UK on the issue of mitochondrial transfer or 3-person IVF technology. Some of this has involved the UK equivalent of the Surgeon General, Professor Dame Sally Davies, who at one point apparently called my views “bunk”. I wrote back to her via Lord Alton articulating my concerns and respectfully responding to the bunk allegation. I am not opposed in principle to mitochondrial transfer technology, but rather …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, in this case 3-person IVF, “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 …Read More

2 min read

NatureNews is a science news outlet so I’ve been wondering what the heck the deal is with their strongly biased news coverage of the mitochondrial transfer 3-person IVF technology debate. By way of context, I like NatureNews and am a regular reader, but their coverage of the mitochondrial transfer debate has been completely one-sided and inaccurate. Their two so-called news pieces on this have been extraordinarily biased in favor of the UK going ahead with the technology. Let’s take the first one entitled, “Scientists cheer vote to allow three-person …Read More

1 min read

I ran a poll asking readers of this blog about their view of 3-parent IVF also known as mitochondrial transfer technology. The poll got 166 responses over a few days. The results are in and they are surprising to me at least. They trend toward some level of support rather than opposition to approval of this technology, but the greatest number of respondents wanted more data first before it proceeds. Frankly, I thought originally that the poll would show that “Strong support” would get …Read More

2 min read

The UK Parliament just voted to legalize the production of genetically modified human beings. To my knowledge, this is the first time in history that such a vote has given the green light to make GMO human beings in any country of the world. There are other hurdles before this method can actually be used including the UK House of Lords must vote in favor as well and there are regulatory issues to iron out, but human GMOs are one big step closer to reality. The …Read More