Pominent US biologist lectures UK Parliament: ‘Three-parent’ IVF too uncertain to be safe

This open letter was written by Paul Knoepfler, associate professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, the Genome Center, and the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California-Davis:

Dear UK Parliament and Science and Technology Committee,

I am writing to you about your deliberations on “mitochondrial donation” (also known as 3-parent technology) intended for the purpose of preventing heritable mitochondrial disorders. I am concerned about the Department of Health’s recent draft regulations that would allow 3-parent experiments to go forward and the possibility that the UK Parliament may vote to allow it.

This experimental technology has a noble goal, but in my opinion there are too many unanswered questions and risks that remain to allow it to proceed at this time. In fact, I believe that moving forward with it would most likely be a tragic mistake for the UK.

While a recent FDA hearing by an advisory Committee here in the US took what I view as an appropriately cautious approach to 3-parent technology, I am concerned that the UK may soon approve this technology without first seeing evidence that the potential risks and problems have been addressed successfully in concrete ways. I would respectfully ask, “what’s the rush?”

The FDA hearing articulated numerous unresolved concerns and the FDA Committee Chair, Dr. Evan Snyder, concluded “I think there was a sense of the committee that at this particular point in time, there was probably not enough data either in animals or in vitro to conclusively move on to human trials.”

Read full original article: Open letter to UK Parliament: Avoid historic mistake on rushing human genetic modification

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