Healthy mice born from same-sex parents for first time

12 Octubre, 2018, 01:23 | Author: Enrique Watson
  • The mice have now had healthy babies of their own. Pic Leyun Wang

Mice from two dads were also born but only survived for a couple of days.

Using a mash-up of stem cells and cloning technology, a team in Beijing claims to have generated mice with same-sex parents.

Mammals can produce offspring only through sexual reproduction using an female egg fertilised by male sperm.

Some reptiles, amphibians and fish can reproduce with one parent of the same sex, but it is extremely hard for mammals to do so- even with the help of the most advanced technology.

And by combining these two processes together, they were able to produce healthy offspring from two females.

Researchers achieved the feat by altering stem cells from a female mouse and injecting them into the eggs of another female.

Image: The mice have now had healthy babies of their own. This way their progeny only have one active copy of an imprinted gene.

The researchers also produced 12 full-term mice with two genetic fathers, using a similar but more complicated procedure.

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These were transferred, along with placental material, into surrogate mothers.

They produced 29 live mice from 210 embryos, with the animals living to adulthood and having offspring of their own.

"One possible approach is using "epigenetic-editing" on haploid stem cells, essentially reprogramming the DNA of one parent so it looks like that of the opposite sex without altering any genetic sequence".

To generate mouse pups from two male parents, the researchers had to delete seven imprinted regions.

The bipaternal mice pups only survived for 48 hours after birth.

He said, "To consider exploring similar technology for human application in the near future is implausible".

Li notes that there are still obstacles to using these methods in other mammals, including the need to identify problematic imprinted genes that are unique to each species and concerns for the offspring that don't survive or that experience severe abnormalities.

This research was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Basic Research Program of China, the National Key Research and Development Program, the National High Technology R&D Program, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Key Research Projects of the Frontier Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Postdoctoral Program for Innovative Talents, and the Strategic Collaborative Research Program of the Ferring Institute of Reproductive Medicine, Ferring Pharmaceuticals and Chinese Academy of Sciences. "We saw that the defects in bimaternal mice can be eliminated and that bipaternal reproduction barriers in mammals can also be crossed through imprinting modification".

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