POST - Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

Preventing Mitochondrial Disease

Published Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This note describes new treatments designed to prevent mothers with mitochondrial disease passing their condition on to their children and looks at the issues raised by their potential use in IVF.

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Mitochondria convert biological fuels like sugars and fats into the energy a cell needs. Women with a disease caused by faulty mitochondria pass their condition on to their children. Researchers are developing treatments to prevent this by using healthy mitochondria from a female donor. This note describes these treatments and looks at the issues raised by their potential use in IVF.

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The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.