In ten years, men will be able to give birth
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Scientists in Japan say they have succeeded in breeding mice with two fathers using eggs derived from male cells. Although a scientific breakthrough may pave the way for new fertility treatments, experts say they are still a long way from being applied to humans, writes France24.
Katsuhiko Hayashi, a renowned biologist at Osaka University, said his team used chromosome engineering to develop seven “healthy” mice, welcoming”the first case of obtaining healthy mammalian eggs from male cells”.
Hayashi made this announcement at the Third International Summit on Human Genome Editing at the Francis Crick Institute in London on March 8, which caused a flurry of excitement and speculation about the implications of the discovery for the future of human reproduction.
The results of the study are submitted for publication in the scientific journal Nature.”If they are confirmed, this will be a ”small revolution”, — said Dr. Nitzan Gonen, head of the sex determination laboratory at Israel's Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv.
Biologists and geneticists have been working towards this goal for over a decade, hoping to develop new treatments for severe forms of infertility or even allow single parent embryos.
The Japanese discovery also raises the possibility that same-sex couples will be able to have a biological child together in the future, although experts warn that there are a number of hurdles before moving from the lab to the clinic.
By Hayashi's own admission, his method has low success rate: only seven mice were born out of 630 embryos implanted in a female mouse, although all seven baby mice turned into healthy and fertile offspring.
“Production of gametes (male or female sex cells) &mdash ; a very long and complicated process. We don't know how to accurately reproduce it in a test tube”, — Gonen said.
This technique is still far from being used by humans, citing a number of obstacles.
Scientists estimate that it will be “another or two decades” before the new technique is applied to people. Even so, it is likely to be used in cases that are considered less sensitive, such as infertility treatment.
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