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UK’s Legalisation of Mitochondrial Donation in IVF Treatment: A Challenge to the International Community or a Promotion of Life-saving Medical Innovation to Be Followed by Others?

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Mitochondrial DNA diseases are rare genetic disorders, which can have a devastating effect on the patients’ health and well-being. There is no cure for such diseases, although recent experiments suggest that there may be a way to prevent them by genetically altering the eggs or embryos through a procedure known as mitochondrial donation. However, such a procedure not only raises serious safety and ethical concerns, but legal challenges as well, since it involves germline gene modification, which until recently was not legal in the UK or elsewhere. In February 2015, the British Parliament amended the relevant legislation to allow such a procedure, making the UK the first state to openly challenge the global policy on germline gene modification. The article presents the scientific background to the procedure and discusses the regulatory challenges brought by the first case of its legalisation.

Affiliations: 1: Lithuania Business University of Applied


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