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Biotech Science

Lab-Made Eggs Produce Healthy Mice 81

Posted by Soulskill
from the built-to-order dept.
ananyo writes "Japanese researchers have coaxed mouse stem cells into becoming viable eggs that produce healthy offspring. Last year, the same team successfully used mouse stem cells to make functional sperm (other groups have produced sperm cells in vitro). The researchers used a cocktail of growth factors to transform stem cells into egg precursors. When they added these egg precursor cells to embryonic ovary tissue that did not contain sex cells, the mixture spontaneously formed ovary-like structures, which they then grafted onto natural ovaries in female mice. After four weeks, the stem-cell-derived cells had matured into oocytes. The team removed the oocytes from the ovaries, fertilized them and transplanted the embryos into foster mothers. The offspring that were produced grew up to be fertile themselves."
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Lab-Made Eggs Produce Healthy Mice

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  • And we move forward (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2012 @10:40AM (#41558581)

    Robotic spaceships that produce humans at their destination here we come!

    • We still need the artificial uterus. And the caretaker robots that can create healthy human minds.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2012 @10:47AM (#41558659)

        And the caretaker robots that can create healthy human minds.

        We've already invented TV.

        • by dmbasso (1052166)

          He said "healthy"...

          Btw, the last episode of South Park was pretty good on the subject.

        • Oh sure, drop off colonists after raising them on "Jersey Shore" reruns and "Mythbusters" episodes...
          self destruction in 3, 2, 1.
          Seriously, who picks the "indoctrination and training" content? People not making the trip?
          • Oh sure, drop off colonists after raising them on "Jersey Shore" reruns and "Mythbusters" episodes...

            You'll have a generation of resourceful, but unproductive colonists who spend their time doing things like:

            - testing the myth that duct tape can be used both as a substitute for heat shielding AND as a quick way to remove unwanted hairs;
            - trying to make energy drinks out of hydrazine;
            - using the interstellar medium as an in vivo paternity test to identify one's "baby daddy";
            - and figuring out whether a tan from Gliese 581 will have the appropriate carrot-orange hue, or will be more towards the reddish, d

        • by nurb432 (527695)

          TV and healthy minds don't belong in the same sentence.

      • http://www.jamesphogan.com/books/info.php?titleID=29&cmd=summary [jamesphogan.com]
        "An Earth set well into the next century is going through one of its periodical crises politically, and it looks as if this time they might really press the button for the Big One. If it happens, the only chance for our species to survive would be by preserving a sliver of itself elsewhere, which in practical terms means another star, since nothing closer is readily habitable. There isn't time to organize a manned expedition of such scope f

    • We still need Axlotl tanks in which to nurture the human larvae before they are ready to face harsh external conditions; but(mid to long term) it might well be overwhelmingly more efficient to ship a few blobs of tissue on ice and let the robots build some colonists when they've finished building a colony for them.

      (Ooh, boy, though, is Colony Gen. 1 going to have some fucked up parent-issues or what?)

    • It's just a shame they were expecting parrots to hatch....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2012 @10:41AM (#41558585)

    inquiring Pythons want to know.

  • Where are my cheese eating death machines?
  • by badford (874035) on Friday October 05, 2012 @10:45AM (#41558635)

    Lab Notes: August 12, 2023

    Einsla is becoming a remarkable young woman. She speaks 29 languages and has built 7 helper bots from spare parts found around the lab. She even re-engineered her iPhone 15 to send tweets telepathically. Who'd a thunk that stem cell eggs and sperm would be so friggin dope?

    Lab ntes : Octobre 54, bleh

    Einsla is all-powerful. I must obey. farble-blerp. please get out of my mind. [end of transcript]

  • is developing a robot cat specializing in nabbing and eating the stem cell mice.

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      is developing a robot cat specializing in nabbing and eating the stem cell mice.

      Sonya the cat (sometimes pronounced Sony).

    • Incomplete information. The team is developing a robot cat that can be operated by a tiny genetically modified mouse pilot and that can transform into a small fighter plane or combine with 14 other robot cats to make a man-sized robot that looks from a distance like a robotic "Mario".
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday October 05, 2012 @11:03AM (#41558821) Journal

    This result is certainly cool in itself, and will probably (eventually) find application in squicking the moralists when an egg produced from a gay man's stem cells is united with sperm synthesized from a transexual woman or something(and will those fireworks ever be worth watching...); but what percentage of the more prosaic fertility-clinic cases are ultimately caused by defective eggs?

    I've heard of some cases where the mitochondrial DNA is defective, so the only way to produce a healthy child is by slapping 3rd-party mitochondria into the maternal egg cell before fertilization, and lots of cases where sperm defects end up requiring IVF, sometimes with donor sperm. Are there also a fairly large number of cases where defective eggs are the cause of infertility that just can't be addressed at present by anything other than using donor gametes?

    • There have already been viable mice produced from the genetic information of two male mice: Generation of Viable Male and Female Mice from Two Fathers (link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3043133/ [nih.gov])
    • by snadrus (930168)
      If I read it properly, it's now possible for Women to asexually reproduce with themselves, or any pair of genders.
    • by godel_56 (1287256)

      I've heard of some cases where the mitochondrial DNA is defective, so the only way to produce a healthy child is by slapping 3rd-party mitochondria into the maternal egg cell before fertilization, and lots of cases where sperm defects end up requiring IVF, sometimes with donor sperm. Are there also a fairly large number of cases where defective eggs are the cause of infertility that just can't be addressed at present by anything other than using donor gametes?

      What about the cases of premature menopause where the woman loses all her eggs at an young age, sometimes as early as 25? These families only option would to have a baby by donor egg, which means the child is not the mother's genetic offspring.

      Being able to make new eggs would fix that.

  • I'll be impressed when scientists can make life from nonlife.

    • by HiThere (15173)

      If you've been following the news...you don't have long to wait. In fact, if you consider a virus alive, they did it years ago. But work progresses on synthysizing total cells. (Usually under the label of "trying to find the simplest possible cell.".)

      I will admit, however, that "not long" is a bit vague. I give it 10-15 years. 20 wouldn't really surprise me. 5 would. So would 25...unless there are drastic cuts in biology funding world-wide.

  • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Friday October 05, 2012 @11:06AM (#41558847) Homepage

    If you're not sure what practical application this research contributes to, consider this: We can now create genetic offspring of infertile people. More than that, we can now create genetic offspring of people without their knowledge or consent. All we need is a stem cell sample. Note recent research that enables skin cells to be turned into stem cells.

    It shouldn't be long before companies are advertising services like 'Have George Clooney's baby' or 'Father Christina Hendricks' child'. That's just the tip of the iceberg. The first child with two daddies -- literally -- is just around the corner.

    • literally -- is just around the corner.

      Could you give me an address for this corner?

      • by gottabeme (590848)

        "The first child with two daddies -- literally".

        • Ah, see, I can see how people might not take the current version of having two male parents as literal, but adoption is a natural and common enough process that it didn't even occur to me to parse it that way. "Biologically" might have communicated the concept better. Still, thanks for clarifying my misunderstanding.

    • by drpimp (900837)
      Subsequently from that same corner you will still be able to obtain organically grown STDs from your local hooker.
  • by wiredog (43288) on Friday October 05, 2012 @11:10AM (#41558899) Journal

    Make sperm and egg from the same source.. Surprised they didn't try that.

    • by blueg3 (192743) on Friday October 05, 2012 @11:32AM (#41559177)

      That doesn't result in a clone.

    • by Dekker3D (989692)

      That wouldn't be a clone, I think. More like a brother or sister. The stem cell still has a full set of DNA, and both the sperm and egg cell would have their random half of said DNA.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's actually way worse than cloning. It's much more like a super inbreeding. You're taking 1/2 the DNA and combining it with the same DNA. All of your homogenous dominant and recessive traits become the same, but with the same as any inbreeding, any recessive gene based disease you were a "carrier" for you automatically have a 25% of introducing full on into the offspring. There is an incredibly slight chance that you do end up with a clone if you pull the correctly matched half of each chromosome from

  • Let's see: stem cells -> eggs -> ovary tissue -> natural ovaries -> oocytes -> removed from ovaries -> fertilized -> transplanted into "foster mothers"... To me, that sounds like a combination between Frankenstein and Fantastic Voyage

  • See this news item: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhpqqNZMx50 [youtube.com]
  • by aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) on Friday October 05, 2012 @11:29AM (#41559111)

    The practical application of this procedure is probably some way off. If perfected for humans, it could become the ultimate fertility treatment. So long as you have a body, you can have a baby. Surrogate mothers probably needed though.

    As of now, it's interesting research that won't interest vain but rich pet owners. You aren't producing a time-shifted twin of the older organism. But if the egg/sperm cells produced are healthy, you might well produce an artifical hermaphrodite where the father and mother are the same.

    Maybe in the future gay and lesbian couples can become the full biological parents of their own children without resort to a third-party donor or surrogate.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So what you're saying is we are one step closer to the human race not needing males?

  • Sounds sort of like jurassic park.

  • by wiwa (905999) on Friday October 05, 2012 @12:49PM (#41560161)

    My first thought on reading the headline was that they made mice that hatched from eggs. The actual discovery is much less impressive.

  • Turns out, their math and verbal skills are total shit.
  • Are these the same Japanese scientists who are trying to clone a mammoth? Because this research seems rather pertinent towards that goal.

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