December 6, 2022

US must debate “mitochondrial transfer”: Thomas H. Murray

The former head of the Hastings Centre for Bioethics has written a forceful opinion editorial in Science calling for “a nationwide conversation about current and emerging reproductive technologies”.

 

The president emeritus of the Hastings Centre for Bioethics has written a forceful opinion editorial in Science calling for “a nationwide conversation about current and emerging reproductive technologies”. Thomas H. Murray believes that reproductive health law in the US is badly underdeveloped and that serious issues are being ignored. His article focused mainly on the question of mitochondrial manipulation, but also looked at IVF embryo selection on the basis of sex and other traits.

Sex selection of embryos for non-medical purposes is prohibited in 36 countries, but not in the United States. There is no federal prohibition on reproductive human cloning. And the Food and Drug Administration is yet to decide whether it will authorize clinical trials of mitochondrial manipulation technologies. 

“Discussion of the ethics of mitochondrial manipulation cannot be postponed indefinitely”, Murray wrote. “This is a task for the US Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to pursue, given that its mission is to ensure that scientific research, health care delivery, and technological innovation are conducted in a socially and ethically responsible manner.”

Xavier Symons
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Creative commons
artificial reproduction
mitochondrial replacement