The policy and regulatory context of U.S., U.K., and Australian responses to mitochondrial donation governance

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ABSTRACT: Jurisdictions are beginning to respond to growing demands to begin the clinical use of mitochondrial donation in human embryos. This form of directed modifi-cation of human embryos is intended to prevent mitochondrial disease in future members of families with a known history of such disease. At least one child has already been born after the technique was used during his conception. The United Kingdom has legalized such use and the United States has undertaken high level reviews of the legal and ethical issues that arise from it. Other jurisdictions, such as Australia, continue to prohibit the clinical use of the technique. Using these three distinct responses, this article identifies three fundamental issues raised by the clinical use of mitochondrial donation that must be addressed by jurisdictions considering their own governance responses and analyzes the policy and regulatory contexts that impact how these issues are or will be responded to. Drawing on this analysis, the article discusses how the studied frameworks can inform future governance arrangements in other jurisdictions considering clinical mitochondrial donation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-265
Number of pages19
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • mitochondrial donation, mitochondrial replacement, regulation, human embryos, inheritable modification, germline modification, genetic modification

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