Nature Protocols | Stepwise

Following science’s lead to reflect on the ethics of mitochondrial transfer

When I first mentioned to some colleagues that I was thinking of writing this post in the journal blog, a few quizzical expressions surfaced on the faces of Nature Protocols’ editors. After all, the ethical and philosophical implications of the protocols we publish aren’t the usual remit of Nature Protocols. Yet, when I found out that a method for mitochondrial DNA ‘transplantation’ introduced by Oregon Health & Science University’s Shoukhrat Mitalipov and co-authors is now technically almost ready for the fertility clinic1, my mind started to wander into all kinds of questions and considerations that I thought I’d like to share with my colleagues and the readers of this blog. 

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