Healthy Mice Created From 2 Fathers in Radical Gene-Editing Breakthrough

Scientists assert that they have succeeded in producing mice with two dads, a development that one day might be duplicated in people.

At the Human Genome Editing meeting on Wednesday, Katsuhiko Hayashi from Osaka University explained how he made the success by switching the chromosomes in a male cell from XY to XX.

After creating female eggs, or oocytes, from male cells using that method, he fertilized them to produce seven rodents with two real fathers.

The finding is still in its infancy and has not yet been confirmed by a study by other scientists. However, if it is verified, it opens the door to male partners having their own biological offspring in the future.

The epidermis cells were used to create the male-to-female embryos.

Because cells can transform into different types of cells with the proper cues, scientists have discovered that they are malleable.

The researchers altered male skin cells with X and Y chromosomes to become so-called pluripotent stem cells, which are cells that can differentiate into any other form of cell, in order to create the egg.

They then caused the cells to become egg cells with two X chromosomes by duplicating their X chromosomes and deleting the cells' Y chromosomes.

The duplication of the X chromosome, according to Hayashi, is the secret behind this, the greatest ploy. We made a serious effort to set up a mechanism to replicate the X chromosome.

Seven mouse offspring were produced using this method, and the researchers noted that they seemed robust.

Others dispute with Hayashi's prediction that it could be applied to people within a decade.

Before the technology is secure enough to be used on people, it will take some time.

According to Hayashi, who spoke to The Guardian, rodents are very distinct from people, and even within mice, the eggs are of poor quality — only one in every hundred fertilized eggs resulted in a live delivery.

Hayashi is nonetheless upbeat. He asserts that producing eggs from human male cells "will be feasible even in ten years" purely from a technological perspective, according to The Guardian.

In the future, he told the BBC, he would love to see technology provide reproductive choices to same-sex relationships involving all genders. He added that the procedure might also make it easier for women and individuals with two X chromosomes who suffer from a hereditary disorder involving one of the X chromosomes to conceive.

He issued a warning, saying that it would need to be established beforehand as secure for use.

"This is technically feasible. I'm unsure if it is secure or appropriate for society at this time "said he.

The work is "fascinating" and "provocative," but George Daley, head of Harvard Medical School and a non-participant in the study, told the BBC that he wasn't so confident that this technology would soon work on human cells.

Compared to mouse cells, human reproductive cells are much less well-known and much more complicated. According to Daley, there is still a long way to go before people can access these fertility choices.

Despite the fact that this is not the first instance of a mouse having two dads, the finding is encouraging. This was accomplished in a 2010 research, but their method necessitated many additional stages and embryo modification and failed to produce a viable egg. According to The Times, Hayashi's strategy is much more simple.

Using the same method, Hayashi has also produced mice with two biological moms in the past, going back to 2016. Seven years after Hayashi's work in female rodents, The Guardian revealed that we still haven't been able to create a viable human egg from female skin cells.

Haoyi Wang of the Chinese Academy of Science told the BBC, "Scientists never say never, in theory it has been done in rodents so, of course, it may be feasible in people. He continued, "I could not forecast how many years that would be, but I can see a number of challenges."

Although it might be feasible, is it moral?

It would be up to society to determine whether we would want to permit humans to use that technology to produce children if science reached that stage.

A clear no-no for scientists has traditionally been the use of germline gene editing on people, which is when DNA is changed in a way that the manipulation is carried on to the children themselves.

He Jankui, a scientist, violated that line in 2019 and revealed he had altered the genes of two infants. He was censured internationally and given a jail term.

However, the technology might be taken into consideration in the future if Hayashi's study can create new opportunities for human procreation.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.