Editorial

Could we offer mitochondrial donation or similar assisted reproductive technology to South African patients with mitochondrial DNA disease?

Surita Meldau, Gillian Riordan, Francois van der Westhuizen, Joanna L Elson, Izelle Smuts, Michael S Pepper, Himla Soodyall

Abstract


The decision of the UK House of Commons in 2015 to endorse the use of pioneering in vitro fertilisation techniques to protect future generations from the risk of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) disease has sparked worldwide controversy and debate. The availability of such technologies could benefit women at risk of transmitting deleterious mutations. MtDNA disease certainly occurs in South Africa (SA) in all population groups. However, diagnostic strategies and practices for identifying individuals who would benefit from technologies such as IVF have in the past been suboptimal in this country. New developments in the molecular diagnostic services available to SA patients, as well as better education of referring clinicians and the implementation of more structured, population-appropriate diagnostic strategies, may open the floor to this debate in SA.

 

 


Authors' affiliations

Surita Meldau, Division of Chemical Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; National Health Laboratory Service, Cape Town, South Africa

Gillian Riordan, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

Francois van der Westhuizen, Human Metabolomics, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Joanna L Elson, Mitochondrial Research Group, Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK; Human Metabonomics, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Izelle Smuts, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa

Michael S Pepper, Department of Immunology and Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Himla Soodyall, Division of Human Genetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, and National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg

Full Text

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Keywords

Mitochondrial disease; Mitochondrial donation; mtDNA; Mitochondrial DNA; mtDNA mutations

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(3):234-236. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i3.10170

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-10-06
Date published: 2016-02-02

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