Science, like the world, leaps and bounds and makes us aware of progress that would otherwise be unimaginable. A typical example is the result of the work of this group of scientists, who managed to create eggs from male cells, i.e. from two fathers.
A team of scientists has managed to create eggs from male cells, a result that opens the door to new reproductive possibilities that were thought to be unattainable. According to Katsuhiko Hayashi, who led the work at Kyushu University, Japan, "this is the first case of producing robust mammalian oocytes from male cells."
According to the scientist, who presented the results at the International Summit on Human Genome Editing at the Francis Crick Institute in London, within a decade it will be technically possible to create a viable human egg from a male skin cell .
If that seems like an optimistic timeline, know that other experts have labeled it that way, because, in fact, scientists have yet to create, in the lab, viable human eggs from female cells.
Regardless of how long it takes for the technology to be established in this regard, Hayashi said that, personally, he would be in favor of using it, clinically, to allow two men to have a baby. However, in his opinion, "this is not only a question for the scientific program, but also for society." In addition, it can be a solution to be adopted in fertility treatments.
Eggs created from male cells!
Previously, scientists had created mice that technically had two biological parents through an elaborate chain of steps, including genetic engineering. However, this is the first time they have succeeded in growing viable eggs from male cells, marking a "significant advance".
Scientists intended to be able to duplicate the female chromosome, the XX, that is, to convert male chromosomes into female ones. For this, the male skin cells were changed to the state of stem cells, which are undifferentiated cells that have the potential to turn into one of the 200 existing cell types. According to CNN Portugal, in this way, the male Y chromosome, from the XY crossover, was replaced by the female X, thus producing a pluripotent stem cell with two identical chromosomes.
The cells were then grown in an ovarian organoid—a culture system designed to replicate the conditions in a mouse ovary. When fertilized with normal sperm, the eggs produced about 600 embryos, which were later implanted into mice. The result was encouraging: the birth of seven offspring.
For now, according to the team, the cubs "look fine, seem to be growing normally."
We do not yet know enough about the complex biology of human gametogenesis to replicate the challenging work Hayashi did in mice.
George Daly, dean of Harvard Medical School, warned, adding that other research shows that making gametes in the lab using human cells is more complicated than using mouse cells.
In turn, Amander Clark of the University of California, who researches gametes grown in the laboratory, reveals that the research is at a standstill because "the next step is challenging the engineering" and "it could take 10 to 20 years." .