Skip to comments.Stem cells: Egg engineers
Posted on 08/28/2013 5:24:57 PM PDT by neverdem
In a technical tour de force, Japanese researchers created eggs and sperm in the laboratory. Now, scientists have to determine how to use those cells safely and ethically.
Since last October, molecular biologist Katsuhiko Hayashi has received around a dozen e-mails from couples, most of them middle-aged, who are desperate for one thing: a baby. One menopausal woman from England offered to come to his laboratory at Kyoto University in Japan in the hope that he could help her to conceive a child. That is my only wish, she wrote.
The requests started trickling in after Hayashi published the results of an experiment that he had assumed would be of interest mostly to developmental biologists1. Starting with the skin cells of mice in vitro, he created primordial germ cells (PGCs), which can develop into both sperm and eggs. To prove that these laboratory-grown versions were truly similar to naturally occurring PGCs, he used them to create eggs, then used those eggs to create live mice. He calls the live births a mere 'side effect' of the research, but that bench experiment became much more, because it raised the prospect of creating fertilizable eggs from the skin cells of infertile women. And it also suggested that men's skin cells could be used to create eggs, and that sperm could be generated from women's cells. (Indeed, after the research was published, the editor of a gay and lesbian magazine e-mailed Hayashi for more information.)
Despite the innovative nature of the research, the public attention surprised Hayashi and his senior professor, Mitinori Saitou. They have spent more than a decade piecing together the subtle details of mammalian gamete production and then recreating that process in vitro all for the sake of science, not medicine. Their method now allows researchers to create unlimited PGCs, which were previously...
i like mine over easy
With fukishima they will need this tech.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.