In Japan, scientists managed to breed mice from same-sex parents: what will this discovery change?
In Japan, scientists created eggs from skin cells of the skin of male mice – mice with same-sex biological parents were born. The results of the study were published in the journal Nature, The Guardian reports. A scientific breakthrough can provide new opportunities for reproduction and help in the treatment of severe forms of infertility. The success of this experiment also makes it more likely that same-sex couples will be able to have biological children in the future. “This is the first time that robust mammalian oocytes have been created from male cells,” said scientist Katsuhiko Hayashi, who led the study at Kyushu University in Japan. Hayashi presented his development at the International Human Genome Editing Summit at the Francis Crick Institute in London on March 8. Illustrative photo: bilanol.i.ua/Depositphotos Japanese scientists took skin cells from an adult male mouse. With the help of genetic engineering, scientists managed to create an egg cell. First, the samples taken are turned into stem cells, which can later be turned into other types of cells. The team grew the cells until some of them lost their Y chromosomes (like humans, male mice have XY sex chromosomes). The researchers then treated the cells with a compound called reversin, which creates a disruption in the distribution of chromosomes during cell division – they needed to find cells with XX chromosomes, as in women. A team of scientists “programmed” stem cells in such a way that they turned into eggs. They were fertilized with mouse sperm, and the resulting embryos were transferred to the uterus of a female mouse. The survival rate was low. Out of 630 transferred embryos, only 7 turned into babies. But the mice grew normally and could have offspring. Read also: New record: in the USA, children were born from embryos frozen 30 years ago. PHOTO According to Hayashi’s prediction, it will be technically possible to create a viable egg from human male cells within a decade. Currently, the experiment cannot be repeated on human cells, because humans are very different from mice. The team of scientists will need to carefully examine the mice from the experiment, and also check whether the “epigenetic” chemical modifications of DNA are preserved properly in the eggs obtained from male cells. After all, applying the same technique to human cells would require much more time than it did for mouse cells. “If the cultivation period becomes longer, both genetic and epigenetic abnormalities can accumulate,” said biologist Mitinori Saitou of Kyoto University in Japan. Even if this approach is possible in humans, researchers will need to make it more efficient and practical by increasing the proportion of viable embryos that can produce offspring in the future. If science overcomes these hurdles, Hayashi’s chromosomal engineering approach could one day help treat some forms of infertility, such as Turner syndrome (when women lack all or part of their X chromosomes). The implications of the scientist’s work could also take human reproduction to a new level, says bioethicist Tetsuya Ishii of Hokkaido University in Sapporo. Such studies can help men have biological children with the help of surrogate mothers. “In the distant future, even a single man will be able to have a biological child,” the scientist adds. We will remind, earlier experts explained how with the help of reproductive technologies it is possible to give birth to a child from a partner who was injured or died in the war. Read also: How artificial insemination takes place, how much it costs and what the risks are. Personal history and advice of an embryologist
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