Ooplasmic donation in humans: the potential for epigenic modifications.
Hawes SM, Sapienza C, Latham KE
Human Reproduction (2002)
Category: epigenetics ¤ Added: Apr 18, 2005 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
Ooplasm donation, wherein ooplasm is transferred from a donor oocyte to a recipient oocyte in an effort to increase embryo viability, has been applied in the human, with resulting pregnancies and births. Neither the safety nor efficacy of this method has been adequately investigated. Mitochondrial heteroplasmy in the blood of children conceived using ooplasm donation has recently been described. A follow-up study of children born following the use of this technique primarily focused on the presence of mitochondria from the donor oocyte highlighting possible problems due to mitochondrial heteroplasmy. Other effects related to epigenetic events may also arise, but have not been addressed. Studies using inbred mouse strains reveal that genetically diverse ooplasms can impose diverse epigenetic modifications on parental genomes. Incompatibilities produced by combining maternal genome and ooplasm from different genotypes leads to defects in gene expression and development. Such defects can be heritable and observed in the next generation. Given the potential for epigenetic modifications to arise following ooplasm donation, the safety and efficacy of this method need to be evaluated in a suitable animal model.