Fertile and mature eggs that were generated from the skin cells of mice produced completely healthy pups. The results of the experiment became a breakthrough in the field, which means the age of infertility problems is probably gone.
The research was conducted by a team of scientists from Kyushu University (Japan). They used two types of stem cells: embryo ones and those generated from the skin taken from the mice tails. Both types underwent the impact by certain chemicals and biological signals that eventually helped the cells develop, creating eggs.
After all procedures were done, and the scientists got mature eggs ready for usage, the fertilization process was conducted, and the eggs then were implanted into the female mice uterus.
As the base for the experiment Japanese scientists toke the Shinya Yamanaka work that led to a major breakthrough in the field of stem cells research and gave him a Nobel prize back in 2007. He succeeded in creating stem cells from simple skin cells of an adult person. The stem cells he developed could build any tissue human body might want. It means they don’t have to break embryos to get working stem cells.
The idea of making egg cells from stem cells was based on the research led by Katsuhiko Hayashi of the University of Kyoto back in 2012. He didn’t succeed to make an embryo out of the cells he got, but this time the experiment worked.
Since we are mammals, just as mice, the results of the experiment suggest that this type of procedures can be done to a human being. This possibility opens a whole new world for science, as the theory of a child “created” in a laboratory becomes closer to reality.
The description and results of the research were published in the Nature journal. In the article, it’s written that this successful experiment can create a base for improving fertility of other mammalian species. Of course, it will take years to develop the analogical technique to try it on a human. To be more precise, it will probably be possible to apply in 5 years, according to Jacob Hanna – the member of a science team that worked on producing immature egg cells from simple skin cells.
This breakthrough may become a solution to the problem of infertility by producing eggs or enable women with the eggs deficit to have IVF done. Besides, in theory, egg cells may be produced using male skin cells, which opens a possibility of creating babies who would have genes from both fathers.
The technique may face troubles in terms of ethics though, as the idea of lab-creating babies doesn’t satisfy everyone. Moreover, the Japanese government strictly prohibits any engineering and fertilizing lab-created human eggs. Even if it’s done for the research, the government thinks it’s too dangerous to interfere in such processes, like the creation of a new human life.
As for the US, embryo genetic modification isn’t allowed here either, even though the country might have done something like that in the past. Some theories suggest there is a bunch of people who were fully engineered, but it’s just theories.