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Creating a Three-Parent Child: An Educational Paradigm for the Responsible Conduct of Research

    Authors: Ruth L. Fischbach1,*, Shawna Benston1, John D. Loike1
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    Affiliations: 1: Center for Bioethics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10032
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 15 December 2014
    • 1 That this House takes note of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s most recent scientific review into the safety and efficacy of mitochondrial replacement techniques which highlights concerns for subsequent generations of children born through maternal spindle transfer and pronuclear transfer; welcomes the recent comments of scientists including Professor Lord Winston that, prior to the introduction of such techniques, more research ought to be undertaken and a full assessment conducted of the potential risk to children born as a result; and calls upon the Government, in light of these public safety concerns, to delay bringing forward regulations on mitochondrial replacement (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm140901/debtext/140901-0003.htm#14090125000001).
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Center for Bioethics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 630 West 168th Street, Box 161, New York, NY 10032. Fax: 212-342-0541. E-mail: rf416@columbia.edu.
    • ©2014 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2014 vol. 15 no. 2 186-190. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v15i2.873
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    Abstract:

    The field of assisted reproduction is renowned for its remarkable advances and constant pushing forward of research boundaries in an effort to offer innovative and effective methods for enhancing fertility. Accompanying these advances, however, are physiological, psychological, and bioethical consequences that must be considered. These concomitant advances and consequences make assisted reproduction an excellent educational paradigm for inculcating responsible conduct in both research and clinical practice. Ultimately, responsible conduct rests on the ethical researcher and clinician. Here, we present the as-yet unapproved, contentious assisted reproductive technology of mitochondrial replacement transfer (MRT) as an ideal educational platform to foster the responsible conduct of research by advancing dialogue among multi-disciplinary scholars, researchers, and students. Using a likely future case, we present the basic science, legal, and ethical considerations, and the pedagogical principles and strategies for using MRT as an effective educational paradigm. Society will benefit when the ethical issues inherent in creating children with three genetic parents as well as germline interference are discussed across multiple academic levels that include researchers, legal experts, bioethicists, and government-appointed commissions. Furthermore, undergraduate and graduate students should be included because they will likely determine the ethical fates of these biotechnologies. While emerging assisted reproduction technologies such as MRT are highly complex and will take years to be readily available for patients in need, now is the time to consider their scientific, legal, ethical, and cultural/religious implications for ensuring the responsible conduct of research.

Key Concept Ranking

Mitochondrial DNA
0.55
Nuclear Chromosome
0.53125
0.55

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v15i2.873
2014-12-15
2017-11-23

Abstract:

The field of assisted reproduction is renowned for its remarkable advances and constant pushing forward of research boundaries in an effort to offer innovative and effective methods for enhancing fertility. Accompanying these advances, however, are physiological, psychological, and bioethical consequences that must be considered. These concomitant advances and consequences make assisted reproduction an excellent educational paradigm for inculcating responsible conduct in both research and clinical practice. Ultimately, responsible conduct rests on the ethical researcher and clinician. Here, we present the as-yet unapproved, contentious assisted reproductive technology of mitochondrial replacement transfer (MRT) as an ideal educational platform to foster the responsible conduct of research by advancing dialogue among multi-disciplinary scholars, researchers, and students. Using a likely future case, we present the basic science, legal, and ethical considerations, and the pedagogical principles and strategies for using MRT as an effective educational paradigm. Society will benefit when the ethical issues inherent in creating children with three genetic parents as well as germline interference are discussed across multiple academic levels that include researchers, legal experts, bioethicists, and government-appointed commissions. Furthermore, undergraduate and graduate students should be included because they will likely determine the ethical fates of these biotechnologies. While emerging assisted reproduction technologies such as MRT are highly complex and will take years to be readily available for patients in need, now is the time to consider their scientific, legal, ethical, and cultural/religious implications for ensuring the responsible conduct of research.

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