Mitochondrial transfer : implications for assisted reproductive technologies

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    The use of mitochondrial transfer as a clinic procedure is drawing closer to reality. Here we provide a detailed overview of mitochondrial transfer techniques – both established and recent – including pronuclear, spindle, ooplasmic and blastomere transfer. Reasons as to why some techniques are more suitable for the prevention of mitochondrial DNA disease than others, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each methodology, are discussed. The possible clinical introduction of these techniques has raised concerns about the adverse effects they may have on resultant embryos and offspring. Success rates of each technique, embryo viability and developmental consequences post mitochondrial transfer are addressed through analysis of evidence obtained from both animal and human studies. Counterarguments against potential mitochondrial-nuclear genome incompatibility are also provided. Additional clinical applications ofmitochondrial transfer techniques are discussed. These include the rescue or enhancement of fertility in women of advanced maternal age or those suffering from diabetes. An alternative to using mitochondrialDNA transfer for germline therapies is the therapeutic use of somatic cell nuclear transfer for the generation of personalised stem cells. Although ethically challenging, this method could offer patients already suffering from mitochondrial DNA diseases a novel treatment option.