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In Vitro Fertilisation

Question for Department of Health

UIN HL2642, tabled on 4 November 2014

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health, Jane Ellison, on 1 September (HC Deb, cols 119–122), how many of the mitochondrial diseases listed in Annex D of the consultation document entitled "Mitochondrial Donation" are included in the Human DNA Polymerase Gamma Mutation Database maintained by the National Institutes of Health in the USA; and what assessment they have made of the causal relationship between mutations affecting DNA Polymerase Gamma and disease-associated mitochondrial DNA mutations.

Answered on

17 November 2014

The mitochondrial diseases listed in Annex D of the “Mitochondrial Donation” consultation document are diseases caused by an inherited mutation in mitochondrial DNA that results in faulty mitochondria. In contrast, the mitochondrial diseases listed in the Human DNA Polymerase Gamma Mutation Database are secondary disorders whereby faulty mitochondria arise from a nuclear gene defect. As such the primary mitochondrial DNA diseases listed in Annex D are distinct from those diseases listed in the Human DNA Polymerase Gamma Database, caused by a nuclear gene mutation.

The proposed mitochondrial donation techniques would only be used for patients that have inherited mitochondrial DNA mutations and could not be used for those diseases in which faulty mitochondria arise from a nuclear gene mutation, as this mutation would still be inherited by the resulting child from the parents nuclear DNA.