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Scientists are to investigate “three parent IVF” for preventing mitochondrial diseases

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 20 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e540
  1. Aniket Tavare
  1. 1BMJ

A pioneering research laboratory has been awarded £4.4m (€5.3m; $6.8m) to look into the role of a modified type of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) involving three adults to prevent the inheritance of mitochondrial diseases.

Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, which made the grant, said that “mitochondrial diseases can be devastating for sufferers and their families.” He added that although science had made great progress in uncovering the nature of these diseases, “treatment hasn’t kept pace.”

If approved for use in the United Kingdom—which would require a change in the law—the procedure could help the estimated 12 000 people who have a mitochondrial disease to have a healthy baby. About 100 babies are born each year with a severe …

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