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Science

Scientists Create Mice From 2 Fathers 435

Posted by samzenpus
from the heather-has-two-mommies dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Using stem cell technology, reproductive scientists in Texas, led by Dr. Richard R. Behringer at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, have produced male and female mice from two fathers. The study was posted Wednesday at the online site of the journal Biology of Reproduction. The achievement of two-father offspring in a species of mammal could be a step toward preserving endangered species, improving livestock breeds, and advancing human assisted reproductive technology. It also opens the provocative possibility of same-sex couples having their own genetic children, the researchers note."
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Scientists Create Mice From 2 Fathers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 09, 2010 @04:36AM (#34498476)

    It also opens the provocative possibility of same-sex couples having their own genetic children, the researchers note.

    This isn't going to go down well with the God Squad.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Please. As a religious person? I honestly don't give a fuck. All you're doing is mixing around biomaterials. Humans have been doing that on some level for thousands of years and what was done here could probably have been done decades ago if anyone cared to.
      • Re:In b4 shitstorm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @05:29AM (#34498706)

        A very rational approach to it, but do you think the less rational religious types will concur?

        • Re:In b4 shitstorm (Score:5, Interesting)

          by tirefire (724526) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @07:32AM (#34499230)
          I've heard (yes, that is my citation) that there is almost a 100% overlap between people who are against stem cell research and people who are against abortion. I've also heard (two sources now!) that anti-abortion groups are largely behind stem-cell hatred, because they claim that if stem cells harvested from aborted fetuses are used in research, the mild "gift to science" of abortion will sway more pregnant women into choosing abortion than keeping the child. Or even that "some women" who did not want children would conceive for the express purpose of having an abortion.

          I thought it was crazy at first, too. Then I realized that if one or more single-issue lobbying groups were involved, it's almost stupid enough to be true.
          • All these arguments are not really something that makes me say anything aside of "so?".

            Frankly, if people want to get pregnant for the purpose of selling the embryo for research, what's the problem? I care more about the life and living quality of those alive than about the life of those that might be alive some day, provided nothing goes wrong during pregnancy. And I seriously question how "compassionate" and "moral" people are who see it the other way around.

            • Re:In b4 shitstorm (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 09, 2010 @08:31AM (#34499608)

              I can't imagine the above isn't a troll, but just in case the abortion argument really is still in the "stone age" as it were, I'll bite:

              The way to understand the anti-abortion mindset is extremely simple, but very difficult (apparently) for many supposedly "rational" thinkers. They believe that a person is alive and has rights from the moment of conception. Potential life, in their eyes, is to be as revered as full life-- in fact in some ways more so because it has no adequate defenses or ability to survive without help*.

              Simply put, any act that ends the life of another (in this case even an abortion) must be justified-- and for many people there is even more simply no justification for the taking of another life. To get a feel for this type of mindset just replace the word "abortion" with murder, and then try to argue the typical "right to privacy", "betterment of other people" arguments.

              It's much harder to justify scientific research for the betterment of mankind when the process to procure the research material involves murdering children-- which is exactly what these believers think.

              More importantly, it is important to realize that as "silly" as this idea may seem to you, the fact that the question is far more philosophical than scientific means that you can't simply disregard this option because you don't agree. Many people hold at least some personal belief about when "life" starts-- the fact that you've chosen one point in the timeline of development and that someone else has chosen another does not discount their opinion.

              Because we are dealing with one of the most basic and agreed upon human rights-- the right to life-- the argument understandably gets heated when one side believes that the other is committing what they believe is murder in order to improve their own lives.

              *(It should be noted that this is in no way a new idea, and has existed even in ancient cultures where the murder or beating of a pregnant woman would be dealt with more severely than with one who was not-pregnant. In "ye olden days" when having a baby was even more dangerous than it is today, and the infant death rate was extremely high, the idea of "potential life" was very important to early peoples.)

              • by Anonymous Coward
                If they believed that the person is alive at the moment of conception, they would FIGHT against raped women getting an abortion. After all , the person is a person at the moment of conception, be it a rape or consensual. But in practice this is not what happen, except for really a minority of pro life. Most accept that abortion is done in case of rape. And here is the cinch. From the point of view of the fecundated egg or whatever, there is NO DIFFERENCE whether it was a rape or not. if one give the CHOICE
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by IICV (652597)

                The way to understand the anti-abortion mindset is extremely simple, but very difficult (apparently) for many supposedly "rational" thinkers. They believe that a person is alive and has rights from the moment of conception. Potential life, in their eyes, is to be as revered as full life-- in fact in some ways more so because it has no adequate defenses or ability to survive without help*.

                By what logic do they stop at the moment of conception? The thing that was just conceived is almost exactly as alive as t

              • Re:In b4 shitstorm (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Hooya (518216) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @11:00AM (#34501490) Homepage

                I get that. And that's respectable.

                However, IRL, the people that I've run into that are "anti-abortion" are usually pro-war, have some detectable racism tinge, have no issues with issues like child exploitation (eg. google "baccha bazi DynCorp"). To me, that's hypocrisy. They have no respect for the lives already here that need protection because they are defenseless (civilian casualties, sexually exploited children, the list goes on..)

                Yet they try to project some vague "respect for life" ethos. I wonder how much of that is a case of "every sperm is sacred" (Meaning of Life) mentality as opposed to truly valuing and respecting life.

            • by glebovitz (202712)

              I don't think it is about compassion or morality. It is about a very narrow faith based agenda that does not leave room for rational or critical thinking. It is the same thinking that makes some religious groups anti masturbation because it is "spilling the seed". Doesn't matter that science shows that the seed is "spent" whether or not it is ejaculated.

              The more we learn about life's processes, that more we demonstrate that it is bases on chemistry and physics and less on mysticism. The article isn't demon

          • Re:In b4 shitstorm (Score:5, Informative)

            by tom17 (659054) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @08:43AM (#34499702) Homepage
            I was under the impression that they harvest embryonic stem cells from unused eggs when they are doing IVF? They re-implant the ones that took and discard the others (Or use them for embryonic stem cell research). This has nothing to do with abortion.

            Or am I mistaken here?
        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          A very rational approach to it, but do you think the less rational religious types will concur?

          Less rational people are, by definition, less rational, whether religious, agnostic, or athiest, and should be ignored.

      • by Redlazer (786403)
        Hey man! Don't go sneaking that rational shit in here - you're not allowed!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by stms (1132653)
        The whole gay marriage debate is completely moronic on both sides. If homosexually is genetic then by that same merit its also a biological imperfection and should be fixed (just as pedophilia and bestiality). If it's a choice then you shouldn't tell people what to choose so long as their freedom to make that choice doesn't infringe on other peoples well-being or freedom.
        • by mwvdlee (775178)

          If homosexuality is a biological imperfection, then that in itself gives no reason to fix it. Evolution relies on the existance biological imperfections and, completely coincidentally, biological diversity is so prevalent that nobody even knows what "biological perfection" would be.

          • Re:In b4 shitstorm (Score:4, Insightful)

            by tom17 (659054) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @08:51AM (#34499788) Homepage
            Isn't the homosexuality trend self-fixing anyway? If 2 guys or 2 girls get together, and stay loyal for ever, they aint passing those genes on. It's kinda self-policing that way. If homosexuality could somehow increase the chances of survival of the species, then it would surely become a dominant gene.

            That said, now that we have progressed so far with science, all bets are off. All kinds of genetic defects that would normally get weeded out pretty much straight away in nature, are now able to thrive as we 'fix' all the ailments that they create. All we have done here is fixed yet another (and in so doing we are enabling the homosexuality genes to flourish in future generations).
            • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @09:16AM (#34500016)

              Isn't the homosexuality trend self-fixing anyway?

              I don't think we understand the causes enough to say that. For instance, if male homosexuality is caused by a gene that gives heterosexual females a reproductive advantage, then it will never go away unless we outlaw daughters. Maybe that's what they are up to in China?

            • Re:In b4 shitstorm (Score:5, Interesting)

              by AlamedaStone (114462) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @09:26AM (#34500192)

              If homosexuality could somehow increase the chances of survival of the species, then it would surely become a dominant gene.

              Ready to have your mind blown? Homosexuality does increase the chances of survival of the species! Yeah, I said it. Have you ever looked at the gender makeup of a human/social services university or masters program? 75-80% female, and maybe between a third to half of the men are gay. That's up to 10x the rate of (male) homosexuality in the general population! Interesting that so many more gay men are interested in working to support others, isn't it?

              To put it another way, it is an advantage to the cycle of reproduction that not every adult is a parent. Additional caregivers have value to the species. Gays have been having sex and getting pregnant since before we were sapiens. It's a good thing we have their genetic diversity. In fact, it's not hard to argue that the western "nuclear family" is more detrimental to the species than the queers ever could be. We developed as communities (tribes, villages, etc) with shared parenting responsibilities. A smaller group of caregivers results in less care and supervision of the offspring.

              I guess using these arguments you could try to make a case that gays reproducing with each other reduces their value to the species, but in this culture, if you don't have a family you're forever alone. I guess we'll find out soon, either way.

              And by "soon" I mean in another few hundred thousand years at the earliest. We'll all be in the cloud by then anyway though, so who cares.

            • "Isn't the homosexuality trend self-fixing anyway? If 2 guys or 2 girls get together, and stay loyal for ever, they aint passing those genes on."

              I think you not only failed to RTFA, but you also failed to read the fscking summary. The whole issue that sparked this thread is that scientist now thing it may well be possible to pass on their genes to a sibling through this new technique.

              Also, your post doesn't take into consideration that, if there is in fact such a gene, it hasn't "taken care of itself" thr

              • This population is refreshed with every generation.
              • Because of this, these behaviors were obviously involved in positive selection over a long period of time.
              • That positive selection must have involved reproduction.
              • That reproduction implies that these relationships where not exclusive.

              There could be many other factors distorting natural human behavior in modern society - much more chemical exposure (BPA, pthalates, etc.), an unnatural social order (nuclear families, lack of tribal focus), and vastly incr

        • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @07:51AM (#34499354) Homepage

          "The whole gay marriage debate is completely moronic on both sides. If homosexually is genetic then by that same merit its also a biological imperfection and should be fixed (just as pedophilia and bestiality)."

          I'm chronically heterosexual, but I have to say that if there is a genetic imperfection that needs to be fixed, it is the genetic imperfection that produces offspring that equate homosexually with pedophilia and bestiality. The goat and the child cannot consent, but an adult male can, and if psychology is right those on that side of the debate are also often deathly afraid that they might. Furthermore, smoking crystal meth is a choice, at least the first time you do it, yet most people are perfectly OK with judging that behavior and saying it it morally wrong, even though they preach freedom of choice. Either the whole human race is moronic on every issue (and I admit an argument to that effect could be made), or these things are not as clear cut as you assert them to be.

          • Furthermore, smoking crystal meth is a choice, at least the first time you do it, yet most people are perfectly OK with judging that behavior and saying it it morally wrong,

            Citation needed. Recreational drug use has been around since long before current social structure and laws came into being.

            By your logic, would not alcohol also be judged by "most people" as morally wrong? What about marijuana? Apparently you are ignorant of the 60's & 70's, and/or have a very skewed view of what exactly a moral is.

            Recreational drug use is recreational. We have warlords in Mexico running amok because our idiotic government won't legalize and tax the recreational drugs that give them power.

            Remember the prohibition of alcohol and the gangsters that the sell of illegal alcohol funded? Clearly, people would rather purchase their recreational drugs from a safe, clean, regulated environment such as a grocery store, liquor store or pharmacy rather than purchasing their drug from a gangster... Evidence: Gangsters are not selling illegal alcohol to the public at large now that it is legal. Tobacco Cigarettes are nearly addictive as heroin, yet they are legal and not "morally" wrong to most people; The common belief is, "If you want to smoke, fine, just don't do it around those that do not smoke."

            I would argue that most people judge moderate recreational drug use (such as drinking wine, liquor, beer) as moral. Many people I know only judge the use of other recreational drugs (such as marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth) as "wrong" because they are illegal. Many of these same people have told me that if using said drugs were not against the law then it would not be "wrong" to use these drugs in moderation. Therefore, I posit that this it is not so much a moral issue, but one of legality.

            Abuse of any drug is wrong simply because abuse inherently implies wrongdoing. Please do not confuse Abuse with Use.

        • Re:In b4 shitstorm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by fyngyrz (762201) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @08:50AM (#34499780) Homepage Journal


          If homosexually is genetic then by that same merit its also a biological imperfection and should be fixed (just as pedophilia and bestiality).

          No. Doesn't follow. Homosexuals alter the balance of the sexes for reproductive purposes; they often provide a different and useful set of sensibilities to the community (Alan Turing, Isaac Newton, Plato, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Alan Turing, Francis Bacon, Henry David Thoreau...) If your thesis is that the only value proposition in the human race is that of reproduction, then you're just being silly. We're intelligent; we have our own uses for our fellows that go far beyond if they choose to breed or not.


          If it's a choice then you shouldn't tell people what to choose so long as their freedom to make that choice doesn't infringe on other peoples well-being or freedom.

          And if their "biological imperfection" doesn't infringe on other people's well being or freedom, and the "imperfect" person is well satisfied? Einstein could be viewed, using your simplistic "not the same as the rest of us" criteria as being afflicted with a "biological imperfection"... would you have "fixed" him? Or Alan Turing? I mean, really. You need to think this over a little more comprehensively.


          The whole gay marriage debate is completely moronic on both sides.

          Marriage, at present, is a state that alters access to health care, access to one's SO in the hospital, taxes and other issues. This is entirely aside from the warm and fuzzy feeling one might enjoy if "married" is a state one admires. Consequently, there are very practical reasons to seek (and not to seek) marriage. The obvious spit here is over the contractual and ritual components. Myself, I see no reason that marriage should provide any contractual elements at all. If you want the ritual and then choose to proclaim that the ritual means something to you, then by all means, have at it. If you want to enter into a contract with someone, you should do so. The mixing of the two is what makes marriage such a mess.

          • If you want the ritual and then choose to proclaim that the ritual means something to you, then by all means, have at it. If you want to enter into a contract with someone, you should do so. The mixing of the two is what makes marriage such a mess.

            Or, to paraphrase a great leader:

            Kang: Civil unions for all.
            [crowd boos]
            Very well, no civil unions for anyone.
            [crowd boos]
            Hmm... Civil unions for some, miniature American flags for

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @06:20AM (#34498920) Journal

      You think that's bad? How about, now when the boss rides your ass all afternoon, you can actually get pregnant? Man, trust science to make IT and programming jobs even shittier ;)

    • Re:In b4 shitstorm (Score:5, Interesting)

      by h4rm0ny (722443) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @06:31AM (#34498974) Journal

      This isn't going to go down well with the God Squad.

      They should be fine with it - lots of precedents. Eve was created from Adam's rib which was a 1 Father, 0 mother scenario. Mary had Jesus by God which was a 1 Mother, 0 Father scenario (God is generally regarded as the spiritual father. I don't think many Christians envisage actual physical sex with God as evidenced by the virginity of Mary remaining intact). Pygmalian married a statue that was brought to life which was a 0 Fathers, 0 Mothers scenario for the statue. The Bible has contained this sort of stuff long before we even knew what DNA was.

      Also, a lot of religious people have objected to same-sex marriages on the grounds that they believe marriage should only be between people capable of having children together. This will resolve that road-block so they can be okay with same-sex marriage.

      I'm certain that religious people will love this.

      • I'm religious but I figure it's God's job to enforce his rules, not mine.

        If he disapproves of cloning or babies from same-sex couples, then He'll strike them down. If not then I guess He approves. (shrug) Not my laws; not my job to enforce them on others.

      • Pygmalian married a statue that was brought to life which was a 0 Fathers, 0 Mothers scenario for the statue.

        Um, that one isn’t from the Bible.

        I'm certain that religious people will love this.

        Some might, some might not. The prevailing attitude, however, would probably be ambivalence. Or... “hey, make your own dirt!”

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Eve was created from Adam's rib which was a 1 Father, 0 mother scenario.

        Technically then, it's 1 Brother, isn't it? Adam can't be Eve's Father -- it's more like a twin, isn't it? And, I've never been really clear on who Cain and Abel might have married.

        It's all very confusing.

      • All of which just goes to reaffirm my belief that it's just a really good story book, blown totally out of proportion.
    • Never mind the Bible Humpers, just think of how some feminists will react. If we develop artificial wombs and use this technology in humans, men won't need women in order to reproduce. Some feminists might rejoice, as it means that women will no longer have to go through pregnancy. Other feminists will get pissy, as this would mean that women can no longer decide which men get to have children.
  • by SharpFang (651121) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @04:48AM (#34498524) Homepage Journal

    Son of Kronar [oglaf.com]

    (nsfw)

  • I for one (Score:5, Funny)

    by arndawg (1468629) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @04:49AM (#34498526)
    welcome our new gaylords. Or gaylings. whatever.
    • You welcome robotic dogs [youtube.com] from the 60's?
      They come with a bone of their own.

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @04:49AM (#34498528)
    All the world needs is bloody gay mice.
  • Oh, Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @05:04AM (#34498590)

    Now instead of the mice in my house just eating my cheese, I have to worry about them reupholstering my furniture.

  • Close, but no cigar (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 09, 2010 @05:12AM (#34498618)

    In the work reported today, the Behringer team manipulated fibroblasts from a male (XY) mouse fetus

    Yeah yeah yeah. Just two fathers. That's some trick there, getting a male to generate a fetus. What an age we live in.

    Cut me a break, and at least report that a female was in some way required, OK? I know it does not have the same "zing" as a story not involving females at all, but still.

    • by HBoar (1642149)
      It does go on to propose that invitro fertilisation could be used, wiht a female only used for incubation. Presumably it's not outside the realms of possiblity for an incubator capable of this being created in the future, so the whole process may not need a female.
    • Yeah, the thing of real importance was the one completely not mentioned (summary or comments, from what I’ve seen so far):

      If they created a mouse embryo and brought it to term with no surrogate mother, this is indeed a breakthrough. If they used a surrogate mother... meh!

  • It also opens the provocative possibility of same-sex couples having their own genetic children, the researchers note.

    As long as they're happy with only female children, or are males themselves.

  • by funfail (970288) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @06:38AM (#34499006) Homepage

    So the same method can theoretically be applied to two sperms from the same male. I can be the father and mother of my own child then.

    Should he/she be considered my "child" or my "clone"?

  • by ralphdaugherty (225648) <ralph@ee.net> on Thursday December 09, 2010 @07:49AM (#34499336) Homepage

    I'm reading Oxygen by Nick Lane, and recreating with male mitochondria is a universal no no. Even worms while forming excrete the male mitochondria from the gametes used to form it.

    The male mitochondria passed on is aged and defective, the female mitochondria an unused preserved version.

    In other words, there's a reason it doesn't work the way it's being forced to work. That's why we have sexes. Thank God or evolution, your choice.

      rd

  • That would have to really confuse a kid.
  • Jesus mice, the mice with TWO fathers.
  • That's good news for Lonesome George [wikipedia.org] and his species(assuming you could get male and female offspring from a single father). Sure, there would be heavy inbreeding but it would not be worse than most European royal families.

    • by Kvasio (127200)

      but there is another father - Tony in a Prague Zoo (see the wikipedia article you linked to)

  • Thanks--I'll be here all week.
  • could have daughters or sons

    XY+XY -> XY/XX

    but a gay female couple can only have daughters

    XX+XX -> XX

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