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Japanese Research Shows Sperms from Females and Eggs from Males can Develop Into a Baby

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Aug 23, 2013 09:37 AM EDT
infertility, IVF
(Photo : REUTERS/Kacper Pempel )

It is possible for eggs from males and sperms from females to produce a baby. Researchers from Japan have created primordial germ cells from skin cells of mice that can develop into both sperms and eggs. The research shows that, in the future, it is possible to create viable eggs for infertile women. 

During embryo development, some cells are "kept aside". These primordial germ cells later develop into either oocytes (in females) or spermatozoa (in males).

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To prove that these PGCs were similar to naturally occurring PGCs, researchers developed eggs from PGCs and then used these eggs to create live mice. The research team was led by Katsuhiko Hayashi from Kyoto University in Japan, Scientific American reported.

The process involves using early-stage embryos to obtain pluripotent stem cells and somatic cells. These cells are used to develop primordial germ cells. These cells were then put into the testes of male and ovaries of female mice. Once developed, they were extracted and grown into live mice.

The research team conducted the initial experiments in 2012 and are now collaborating with other researchers to find the applications of the research in humans, The Independent reported.  Of course, such experiments get a lot of public attention and invite discussions of ethics in stem cell research.

"It goes without saying that [they] really transformed the field in the mouse. Now, to avoid derailing the technology before it's had a chance to demonstrate its usefulness, we have to have conversations about the ethics of making gametes this way," Amander Clark, a fertility expert at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Scientific American.

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