Scientists have managed to grow the first stem cells’ based mouse eggs by using a technique which could be as helpful as it is already controversial.
The feat was achieved by a team of Japanese scientists, led by professor Katsuhiho Hayashi, that has managed to create fertile mouse eggs without the active involvement of the animal.
The eggs were created through the use of stem cells. As scientists harvested cell tissue from the tail of a mouse, they managed to turn them into stem cells, which were later fertilized and transformed into eggs.
Then, the resulting healthy eggs, as not all the experiments succeeded, were implanted in the womb of female mice. The final results came in the form of healthy mice babies.
This would mark the first ever reproductive eggs created from scratch, and a possible step forward towards a future treatment for infertility. This is not the first attempt of its type, as previous experiments involved the creation of sperm through the use of stem cells.
However, the method used by the Japanese scientists was reported to have been more challenging. The study and the test results were published in the Nature journal and have already been raising questions.
According to the published study, the team used stem cells of two types when producing the eggs, both of which were immature stage cells and which could grow to become any sort of specialized cell.
This is due to the fact that the stem cells were reprogrammed to transform into pluripotent stem cells. The resulted cells were then introduced into a chemical culture which replicated an ovary support for the development of eggs. However, only 3.5 percent of the thus fertilized eggs produced an offspring.
As Hayashi intends to continue experimenting and plans to advance in his research, although human experiments are far away in the making, ethical and moral issues are already being raised.
The fact that this new type of life could appear out of a petri dish and feature no human involvement is prone to sparking debates all over the globe.
A safer variant of this technique could come to mean in the future not only a chance for infertile parents, but could also mark the possibility of reviving extinct or disappearing animal species.
As the mouse eggs have been created from scratch, so scientist could try in the future to use fossilized remains or other such genetic information to revive the extinct animal species that roamed the planet.
The same technique could be used in fertility treatments, but the matter is still very controversial as besides the ethical issues, the success rates of the resulting cells are still very low, and scientists are still trying to convince the public that the resulting pups were normal, common babies.
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