Unintended Consequences


Replacing defective mitochondria to be inherited by the child may prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disease. Reinhardt, Dowling, and Morrow, a group of researchers, bring up an important consequence to consider in approving the procedure. They believe that there is a specific interaction between the mitochondria and nucleus of an individual (Reinhard et al, 2013). This interaction is central in regulating various cellular processes in the human body. However, another group of scientists have shown otherwise (Chinnery et al.,2014 ). This group affirms the success of the process in macaque monkeys and provides evidence that there is no such interaction making a specific mitochondria work efficiently only in a specific nucleus. The Reinhardt group criticizes this study because of the lack of studies investigating the long-term effects of mitochondrial replacement on the subjected macaque monkeys. In response, Chinnery et al. proposes the idea of matching mitochondrial donors with the nucleus, in a similar way to matching blood type for blood transfusions. They note, however, that this is truly unnecessary but an option. Regardless, the truth is that there are still some unknowns about potential long-term consequences of mitochondrial replacement, including potential Heritable Consequences.

Before voting, have you thought of:

the curious effect of mitochondrial replacement in heredity, and

the lead-up to designer babies.

How about the Precautionary Principle?



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