New approach avoids “three-parent” approach to treating DNA disorder
Martin M. Rotker/Science Source
A new genetic engineering technique could help prevent mitochondrial diseases without the ethically sticky “three-parent problem” of another recently developed method.
The three-parent method involves transferring the nucleus of a prospective mother’s egg into a donor egg containing healthy mitochondria in order to replace mutant mitochondria with healthy ones.
The new gene-editing method, researchers report April 23 in Cell, removes or depletes the number of mutant mitochondria from eggs or early embryos. This approach could keep mitochondrial diseases from being passed from mother to child.
Mitochondrial depletion has advantages over the nuclear transfer technique, says Michio Hirano, a neurologist at Columbia University Medical Center who wasn’t involved in the study. “You don’t need an egg donor. You don’t need to involve a third party