The FDA (USA) must give its opinion on three parent MAP (Medically Assisted Procreation)

Publié le : 28 February 2014

 On 24 and 25 February 2014, the American Food and Drug Administration held public meetings prior to making a declaration on the option to implement three parent medically assisted procreation in humans (Gènéthique press review on February 17th, 2014).  

The technique in question would prevent mothers from transmitting "serious diseases such as muscular dystrophy to their babies by replacing defective mitochondrial DNA with healthy DNA taken from a ‘third parent’". These meetings were requested by scientists at Oregon University for Health and Science. The scientists have used these techniques on Rhesus monkeys and are asking the FDA to outline the conditions for conducting clinical trials in humans.

This technique will generate "genetically modified human beings" by changing all the cells in a child’s body. These changes will be passed on from one generation to the next. This raises numerous ethical questions in terms of medical risks and the implications for society as a whole: what are the consequences for future generations and where are we heading in applying our engineering efforts to man? "The genetic modification of sperm, ovules and embryos must be strictly forbidden. “Unless we want to embark on the adventure of high technology experimental eugenics," said Marcy Darnovsky, General Manager of the Center for Genetics and Society.

The FDA will simply express its opinion on the scientific aspects of mitochondrial manipulation and will avoid analysing ethical and social considerations, which are precisely the points to be addressed.

The British regulating authorities are also looking into mitochondrial manipulation at a time when their American colleagues are getting ready to cross the clinical trial threshold.

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