Thursday, August 27, 2009

Giving Babies Healthy Mitochondria

Scientists at the Oregon National Primate Center have succeeded in producing healthy rhesus infants using the egg nucleus from one female transplanted into the enucleated cytoplasm of another female. The mitochondria from the cytoplasmic component reproduced normally alongside the nuclear material from the nuclear component, without contamination of mitochondria from the nucleus donour.
For their experiments, Mitalipov and his colleagues extracted DNA from the nucleus of monkey eggs; the nucleus contains the genes for most of a creature's traits. The researchers then transplanted that DNA into eggs from other females that had healthy mitochondrial DNA but from which the nuclear DNA had been removed.

They then fertilized the eggs in the laboratory and transferred 15 of the resulting embryos into the wombs of nine females. Two twins were born -- named Mito and Tracker -- along with two other offspring, Spindler and Spindy. So far, all the offspring appear to be healthy. _WaPo_via_ImpactLat
This research shows the way to new techniques for using cytoplasmic donour eggs to assure healthy offspring for mothers who may carry deficiencies for mitochondria -- which have their own DNA, for the most part.

Assuring mitochondrial health is one of the most important bases for overall health and longevity.

While this technique will only work for animals at the egg stage, there is no reason not to believe that advanced forms of mitochondrial culturing and transplant will not occur. Eventually, interventional genetic therapies will be developed which will move most of the genetic material from the mitochondria -- where it is subjected to extreme mutagenic oxidative stress -- to the nucleus where it would be better protected. That is one of the foundations of the SENS approach to longevity.

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