Mitochondrial Donation Treatment (MDT)

Mitochondrial Donation Treatment (MDT)

News: A groundbreaking IVF procedure has been successfully performed in the United Kingdom, resulting in the birth of the first baby with genetic material from three persons, with the help of Mitochondrial donation treatment (MDT).

What are Mitochondria?
 They are the powerhouse of the cell and are responsible for producing energy. They have their own DNA, separate from the nuclear DNA that determines an individual's physical traits.

What is MDT?
 Mitochondrial donation treatment (MDT) is a medical procedure aimed at preventing inherited diseases caused by mutations in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).
 The treatment involves replacing the faulty mitochondria in a woman's egg or embryo with healthy mitochondria from a donor.
 Inherited mutations in mtDNA can cause mitochondrial disease, which is incurable and can lead to severe health problems.

How does MDT work?
 MDT involves the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to create an embryo with genetic material from three people: the mother, the father, and the mitochondrial donor. The process can be done in two ways:
 Pronuclear transfer - It involves transferring the nucleus of the mother's fertilized egg or embryo into the cytoplasm of a donor egg or embryo with healthy mitochondria. The resulting embryo has nuclear DNA from the mother and father and healthy mtDNA from the donor.
 Maternal spindle transfer- It involves transferring the nucleus of the mother's egg into a donor egg with healthy mitochondria before fertilization. The resulting embryo has nuclear DNA from the mother and father and healthy mtDNA from the donor.

Is the procedure allowed in India?
 The MDT procedure is not allowed but the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued draft guidelines for MDT and is seeking public comments.
 It is legal in UK and US but under strict regulations.

What are ethical concerns surrounding the treatment?
 Creation of genetically modified babies is primary concern. The procedure involves altering the genetic material of an embryo, which raises ethical questions about the creation of designer babies and the potential for unintended consequences.
 MDT could lead to the exploitation of vulnerable women who donate their eggs. It is essential to ensure that MDT is regulated and used only for medical purposes.

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