Novel techniques for the prevention of mitochondrial DNA disorders: an ethical review


Published 11/06/2012

Front cover

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics conducted a six-month inquiry into the ethical issues raised by new techniques that aim to prevent the transmission of maternally-inherited mitochondrial DNA disorders.

To assist with this enquiry, the Council appointed a working group with varied expertise, including in science, medicine, philosophy and ethics. The working group took evidence from and met people representing a wide range of opinion and prepared a report, adopted by the Council, which is intended to support and promote public debate around these important and difficult issues.

The report says that the techniques that aim to prevent the transmission of maternally inherited mitochondrial disorders would be an ethical treatment option for affected families, provided research shows that treatment is likely to be safe and effective, and families are offered full information and support.