Scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have managed to create healthy mice from parents of the same sex, namely two mothers and no father. They did the opposite, but the mice with two fathers and no mother survived only a few days after their birth.
The achievement was based on the use of both stem cells and genetic modification. Whether something similar in the future could be made to people to be born “gay babies” is on the table – but it is definitely a distant prospect, as the risk of serious complications is very high, and there is also a bioethical and psychological point of view of the issue.
Some reptiles, amphibians and fish (and turkey!) Can only be reproduced without sexual intercourse by only one parent of the same sex, but it is difficult for mammals to do the same. In the past, scientists had recreated experimental animals with two mothers, but the mice had health problems.
The researchers, who published the relevant publication in the Cell Stem Cell biology journal, used haploid fetal stem cells containing half the normal number of chromosomes and DNA from only one parent (one mother) and then introducing – after appropriate genetic modification – in the eggs of another mouse (second mother). Thus, 29 healthy rodents were produced from 210 embryos, which naturally lived and acquired their own offspring.
With approximately the same technique, 12 mice with genetic material were born by only two males (fathers). Initially, haploid stem cells were harvested containing the DNA of only one male and, after they had been genetically modified, they were introduced, together with s***n from another male (the second father), to an egg from which its nucleus had been removed, so there was no genetic maternal material. Thus embryos with DNA from two fathers emerged, which were eventually implanted – together with placental material – into surrogate mothers who gave birth to them.
However, the mice with their two fathers (and the surrogate mother) lived only for 48 hours. Chinese scientists, however, said they would try to improve their method, aiming ultimately to create healthy rodents with only two fathers.