Creating a Three-Parent Child: An Educational Paradigm for the Responsible Conduct of Research

TitleCreating a Three-Parent Child: An Educational Paradigm for the Responsible Conduct of Research
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsFischbach, RL, Benston, S, Loike, JD
JournalJournal of Microbiology & Biology Education
ISSN Number1935-7885
AbstractThe field of assisted reproduction is renowned for its remarkable advances and constant pushing forward of research boundaries in an effort to offer innovative and effective methods for enhancing fertility. Accompanying these advances, however, are physiological, psychological, and bioethical consequences that must be considered. These concomitant advances and consequences make assisted reproduction an excellent educational paradigm for inculcating responsible conduct in both research and clinical practice. Ultimately, responsible conduct rests on the ethical researcher and clinician. Here, we present the as-yet unapproved, contentious assisted reproductive technology of mitochondrial replacement transfer (MRT) as an ideal educational platform to foster the responsible conduct of research by advancing dialogue among multidisciplinary scholars, researchers, and students. Using a likely future case, we present the basic science, legal, and ethical considerations, and the pedagogical principles and strategies for using MRT as an effective educational paradigm. Society will benefit when the ethical issues inherent in creating children with three genetic parents as well as germline interference are discussed across multiple academic levels that include researchers, legal experts, bioethicists, and government-appointed commissions. Furthermore, undergraduate and graduate students should be included because they will likely determine the ethical fates of these biotechnologies. While emerging assisted reproduction technologies such as MRT are highly complex and will take years to be readily available for patients in need, now is the time to consider their scientific, legal, ethical, and cultural/religious implications for ensuring the responsible conduct of research.