Germline therapies

Background Paper

Published 19/05/2011

IVF procedure resized

The author was commissioned by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics to write this paper in order to inform the Council’s discussions about possible future work on this topic. The paper is intended to provide an overview of key clinical, ethical, social, legal and policy issues, but is not intended to offer any conclusions or recommendations regarding future policy and practice. Any views expressed in the paper are the author’s own and not those of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.


Mark S. Frankel, Ph.D., and Brent T. Hagen, M.S. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Washington, DC, USA


This paper reviews the issues precipitated by scientific advances in proposed treatment of mitochondrial disease by genetic modification. It discusses those advances and the accompanying ethical and policy issues as research on such therapy moves forward.

Mitochondrial DNA disorders

Explore our work on novel techniques for the prevention of mitochondrial DNA disorders (2012).