Archive for October, 2012


Scaremongering regarding inheritable mitochondrial disease cures

Thursday, 25 October, 2012

Every single time there are new stories about┬ámitochondrial┬átransplants, it gets touted in the media as some new fancy technique. The most ridiculous of these was written by Rob Stein of NPR, titled “Scientists Breach Ethical Taboo by Changing Genes Across Generations“.

Geneticist[sic] reported Wednesday that they had crossed a threshold long considered off-limits: They have made changes in human DNA that can be passed down from one generation to the next.

Unfortunately for this scare-mongering, this threshold was crossed way back in 1998. And nothing seems to have happened as a result. This new research is quite useful, however. It’s just not ethically groundbreaking. Or new. Or even genetic┬ámodification. Just a simple mitochondrial transplant.

If you want some realistic news coverage of this story (free of sensationalism), then I suggest trying the journals Nature or Science. Or, first read the Wellcome Trust’s article about the science of what is being done, and THEN read your average news story about this issue.