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Scientists breed mice with two fathers

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  1. News like this always surprises me. This is not new. Sadly neither is the disconnection in the scientific community of late. With so much secrecy over profit they do not seem to ever notice they are not on new ground. This has been done in Holland, and as far as know it was already done, successfully, with men not just mice.

  2. matthew,

    citation needed.

  3. I have been trying to imagine a child carrying mine and my boyfriend’s genes, also taking into consideration what both our families are like, and I must confess defeat. Except I think he or she would be very clever!!

  4. Do want.

    This’ll be a shocker too to lagging countries that don’t let gays adopt jointly – what will they say when the kid is genetically from both parents?

  5. @Xaria, quite right, I should cite references when commenting. I am trying to find it. There were articles published about both Japanese and Dutch experiments about ten years ago. The Japanese I think were successful with lower life forms. But I think it was the Dutch that produced and actual human offspring via a surrogate mother that was the genetic product of two males. Perhaps someone else remembers something about this? It was all around the same time as all the talk about Dolly the sheep, that was also later questioned in the press over not really being the first in that area either.

  6. This is wonderful news.

  7. Actually, something in the article seemed odd to me.

    ‘ “It may also be possible to generate sperm from a female donor and produce viable male and female progeny with two mothers,” researchers said. ‘

    I can see how two men can have sons and daughters, but I don’t see how two women could have sons, even with female sperm. Neither mother would have a Y chromosome to offer.

  8. @Dermont

    An answer to your question…but first I need to provide a bit more info so that my answer makes sense.

    There are some major roadblocks to using this technology in humans to generate offspring from any two people of the same sex, even two men.

    First, we need to be able to create pluripotent cells from human somatic cells. This means that we need to be able to take cells from a male and reprogram them so that they are able to give rise to multiple cell types. As of now, we have generated pluripotent human cells but this technique still requires refinement before we use it in therapy.

    Second, we are currently unable to derive functional egg and sperm cells from human pluripotent cells grown in the lab. In this study, these researchers derived their “male eggs” by injecting pluripotent male cells that had lost their Y chromosome into a developing embryo in a surrogate mouse. In this case the host embryos will likely not compete with the injected cells and all progeny can then be tested to determine whether they are the genetic offspring of the injected cells.

    There is a problem here though. I mentioned that the male cells described above had lost their Y chromosome (these cells only have the 45 non-sex chromosomes and one X chromosome). Well, in a mouse that is OK – mice with this genetic complement are still fertile. However, in humans, an X only gene complement results in infertility – you need either XX or XY to reproduce.

    So finally an answer to your question – In order to overcome the chromosome deficiency mentioned above, the authors speculate that one could add an additional X chromosome to the cells by using a technique called microcell transfer – this would produce an XX genotype and theoretically make these cells fertile. If this is possible, and if all of the other roadblocks are overcome, then some day two men could produce their own genetic sons and daughters. Yay!

    Your question was about the offspring of female mice. Viable female mice from two mothers have already been born from reconstructed eggs that possess genes derived from two eggs (one from each woman). You are absolutely right; in order to get a male mouse you would need to have the Y chromosome. That’s where the microcell transfer mentioned above comes in – if chromosome transfer works, then it may be possible to generate functional sperm from a woman by the same technique employed in this study to generate “male eggs”. Hope that answers your question!

    I’m sorry if I went a bit overboard. I just got very excited by the article because I am a gay man who eventually would love to have my own biological children and I am a bit of a science nerd – I am actually working on a PhD in biology at MD Anderson. Hope this helped. Please note that the original article is a bit jargon heavy but it is definitely a fascinating read if you would like to check it out. The authors discuss the implications of their findings at length.

    Have a good one.

  9. Very interesting!

  10. Just wait ’til the religious fundie kooks hear about this… It’ll give ‘em even more reason to hate science!

  11. This is all very interesting as far as understanding reproductive biology goes, but were such a technique routinely available it would surely only be taken up by the most egotistical and self-serving of individuals.

    Given that the world is currently massively overstocked with people, we really don’t have any need for technologies that create more of them. When the number of orphaned children on our planet drops to negligible levels, then we can talk about the ethics of fertility technologies. Until that point any additional reproduction must be considered an unethical, indeed, an immoral act, since it ultimately perpetuates unsustainable levels of resource consumption, and in the shorter term creates additional competition for parental care which could be given to already-existing orphan children.

    The mere narcissistic desire to have children derived from one’s own genetic make-up is, in such a climate, selfish to the highest degree. This goes for heterosexual couples conceiving via the traditional method just as much as for same-sex couples using futuristic cell-splicing technologies, and it will do until we have solved our overpopulation crisis (either by reducing reproduction markedly or developing the ability to colonise other worlds and exploit their resources).

  12. Bill Wingarden 12 Dec 2010, 4:24am

    If only they could find an antidote for the Hate gene.

    And also the gene that causes people to believe and even murder in the name of superstition and ignorance and the BS belief that by doing so they will “inherit the kingdom of heaven.

  13. Dear VP,
    While I can see your point from a certain moral and not incorrect stance, One of the great urges of reproduction is investing your genes, and not just your time and parenting into another generation. And having parents with the wherewithal to enable this to happen helps ensure that those successful genes are carried through. And to take a different tac, from a Darwinian point of view adopting the unwanted children from unsuccessful parents of the world is working against genetic success to create an ever more fertile less capable population, which will go on to create an even larger unwanted child problem.
    Live and let live, don’t begrudge people from living out their own parenting dreams, whatever their own morals are – which is another part of parenting again. Name calling in unnecessary to a remarkable breakthrough’s possibility.

  14. VP –
    We have to both reduce our reproductive rate and live in a much greener and less resource intensive way, and get out of the fossil fuel economy asap. And we must consume much less, raising the southern world out of wretched poverty (but not into wasteful consumerism), and still produce enough young people to support an otherwise increasingly elderly population. A big challenge, but we are screwed if we don’t meet it.

  15. What a total waste of money. Maybe finding a cure for cancer, or HIV, or MS, or any other disease, which would stop suffering would be a better way for a scientist to spend their time.

  16. @ Toby:

    You mean pouring billions of dollars into cancer research projects (ie. http://www.icgc.org/) isn’t enough? You want the entire scientific community (from botanists to theoretical physicists) to divert their attention from their research (which they presumably enjoy) to that one field just so you could feel better?

    Also, what the frack are you doing to “find a cure for cancer, or HIV, or MS, or any other disease, which would stop suffering”?! Aside from complaining about it of course?

  17. Will Dublin 12 Dec 2010, 4:41pm

    “What a total waste of money. Maybe finding a cure for cancer, or HIV, or MS, or any other disease, which would stop suffering would be a better way for a scientist to spend their time.”

    Again, you’re missing the point. This research can provide valuable gains for the recovery of critically endangered species, species that mankind has in one way or another driven to near extinction. There are plenty of species that will greatly benefit research to recover where wild population cannot sustain reproduction.

    See the bigger picture. Not ever science research is about easing diseases, if that was the case, we’d all be very healthy cave men.

  18. Poor Lucius, sorry will from dublin, I forget which name you used as you’ve got so many to validate your arguments.

    When you fracking swear in another name try not use irish slang in future, it might not give your multiple personalities away.

    btw, please keep ranting at me, your anger makes me laugh hysterically. You’ve got real issues mate.

  19. Toby: Science and research does not have to have a purpose, or some financial gain. Science is about finding out who and what we and the world are about. If we can make tangible, practical breakthroughs, then all’s the better, but it really isn’t all about money, and pharmaceuticals are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to scientific research.

  20. “When you fracking swear in another name try not use irish slang in future, it might not give your multiple personalities away.”

    Superb response. So, when you’re shown to be wrong, the logical thing to do is assume everyone is changing their name to show you up? Have this problem a lot, Toby?

    Lucius is not me. The reality is most people just think your are a moron. So instead you resort to comical paranoid delusions. I suppose you think Spanner and I are the same person too, becuase he points out the error of your ways, do you?

    Oh, and point to note for your less then erudite mind, “frack” is not Irish slang, you stupid, stupid person. The Irish use the work “feck”. “Frack” has its origins in a Science Fiction program from the 80’s. Its a subtle difference, I agree, but an obvious one to someone with the IQ above a room temperature. Maybe if you use that computer properly, instead of banging your face of the keyboard like a demented child, you’d learn something.

    Next time, try a valid argument, it helps when in the company of intelligent people. Paranoia just makes you look comical at best, mentally deranged at worse.

    You, Toby, are a buffoon.

  21. Toby, just becuase someone does not agree wit you, does not automatically mean that they are the same person. The points made by Spanner, Lucius and Will Dublin are quite valid, I am surprised by your reaction to them.

  22. VP:
    > …any additional reproduction must be considered an unethical,
    > indeed, an immoral act

    > The mere narcissistic desire to have children derived from one’s
    > own genetic make-up is, in such a climate, selfish to the
    > highest degree. This goes for heterosexual couples conceiving
    > via the traditional method just as much as for same-sex couples

    So you condemn the most basic and selfless human instinct as unethical, selfish, and narcissistic? Sounds like you’re bitter from having no child yourself. Or, worse, maybe you have children and resent others, who would need assistance and so are “inferior”, joining you.

    Toby:
    > What a total waste of money. Maybe finding a cure for cancer,
    > or HIV, or MS, or any other disease, which would stop suffering
    > would be a better way for a scientist to spend their time.

    And there’s another.

  23. PDK1983:
    > An answer to your question…but first I need to provide a bit
    > more info so that my answer makes sense…

    My compliments on well researched, considered, and composed response.

    Good luck with your studies and your career

  24. Cool!!!!

  25. You should all be happy, no matter your line of logic, with this compromise:
    We’ll have more kids to make more money for your “more important” research, and when they run out of resources they will kill the rest of the human population for a stale french fry. Problems solved!

  26. In this day and age there are more important things to do with your life than reproduce. It’s sad that so many people are unable to see beyond that and especially to see the same low level of aspiration (get married, get a mortgage and have kids) now infecting the gay community big style.

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