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Legislation for mitochondrial donation approved in UK (Focus on Reproduction, 2015 ESHRE, Lisbon)



Original source: Focus on reproduction ESHRE 2015 May, p17

Legislation to allow clinical trials of mitochondrial donation in couples know to be at high risk of passing on mitochondrial diseases to their children have been approved in the UK. (BBC New: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-31594856 ) The move follows votes in the UK's lower and upper Parliaments (the House of Commons and House of Lords) and means that the first trials could begin towards the end of this year. The trials are likely to be at the Wellcome Trust Center for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle University, under the direction of Professor Doug Turnbull, which would need to apply for a research license from the HFEA, the UK/s regulatory authority. Professor Mary Herbert from the Newcastle group will review the tecniques of mitochondrial donation and replacement during the main programme of ESHRE's Annual Meeting in Lisbon (ESHRE 14th-17th, June, 2015).


The possibilities of preventing the transmission of mitochondrial disease (which are said to affect around 2500 women in Britain) was previously the subject of a favourable public consultation by the HFEA. 

Two tecniques have been explored so far--

1. Nuclear transfer from the intended parents' affected zygote to an enucleated donor zygote with healthy mitochondria:



Outcome
The reconstructed embryo can go on to develop, unaffected by mitochondrial diseases. The healthy mitochondria from the donor will now be passed on down the maternal line through future generations.

2. Maternal meiotic spindle transfer in which the meiotic spindle from the mother's affected oocyte is transferred to a healthy donor oocyte (whose spindle has been removed) before fertilisation with the partners sperm.


Outcome
The reconstructed egg can then go to to be fertilised and develop, unaffected by mitochondrial disease. The healthy mitochondria from the donor will now be passed on down the maternal line through future generations.


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