The future of reproduction is here! Scientists have created live mice babies without need for a female egg – and these baby mice grew into adults who had offspring the normal way; and some even went on to have grandkids! This proves that the technique is good because the babies produced were fit and healthy.
The landmark experiment was accomplished at the University of Bath in Bath, Somerset in the United Kingdom by a team of scientists.
Banking on the fact that eggs and sperms make the perfect combination for a baby because they each only have half the chromosomes required to create DNA, these scientists hypothesized that if any cell can be tweaked to remove half its chromosomes to create a cell similar to that of a female egg cell, then fertilization can occur when it meets with a sperm which carries the other half.
Amazingly, the theory worked! To date, these scientists have produced three generations of healthy mice. They are now testing their theory on skin cells.
“Our work challenges that dogma, held since early embryologists first observed mammalian eggs in around 1827 and observed fertilization 50 years later, that only an egg cell fertilized with a sperm cell can result in a live mammalian birth,” Molecular embryologist and study senior author Dr. Tony Perry said.
“We’re talking about different ways of making embryos. Imagine that you could take skin cells and make embryos from them. This would have all kinds of utility.”
Indeed, this method is an exciting find in the scientific community – especially because it offers a lot of applications in humans.
For instance, this could mean that a woman whose eggs had been destroyed by cancer or is infertile due to some medical condition will now have a chance to have babies! Also, gay men could have a baby whose DNA comes from them both, not just from one dad and a surrogate woman; though they would still need a surrogate to carry the baby to full term.
Isn’t this news exciting? Of course, it does raise a couple of moral issues, especially because this could also mean that people can still have babies with a dead person as they only have to harvest some cell samples from that person!
Could this mean that people can ‘play God’ in the future?