In vitro fertilization: Spindle transfer method for mitochondrial DNA replacement to circumvent genetically inherited genetic disorders

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The current technology is method of preventing mitochondrial DNA disease transmission through oocyte spindle transfer.

Technology Overview

Mitochondria, cytoplasmic organelles containing their own DNA (mtDNA), are crucial for the cell as they supply the cell with the majority of energy needed for basic cellular functions. mtDNA is transmitted maternally and normally all its copies are identical within the cell unless mutations in mtDNA occur resulting in the co-existence of normal and mutated mtDNA. Mutations in mtDNA occur at a 10 –fold or higher rate than in nuclear DNA and result in mitochondrial dysfunction. This can lead to serious human disorders such as myopathies, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes and infertility. Mutated mtDNA is transmitted to 1 in 200 newborns, therefore, there is a need for a safe reproductive option to minimize the presence of mtDNA defects in an embryo for in vitro fertilization.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University developed a method to prevent mtDNA disease transmission from parent to children by replacing defective mitochondria with normal ones. The technique, called spindle transfer, utilizes the non-invasive visualization of the spindle (nuclear DNA) for its removal from the oocyte which is then introduced into a cytoplast to generate an egg capable of fertilization and normal development.   


Mitalipov, S. et al. “Mitochondrial gene replacement in primate offspring and embryonic stem cells.” Nature, 461(2009): 367-372. Link

Licensing Opportunity

This technology is available for licensing and/or collaborative development.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Trina Voss
Senior Technology Development Manager
Oregon Health & Science University
Shoukhrat Mitalipov
Biological Materials - Cell Lines
Therapeutics - Reproductive
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