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Medicine Science

First Human Eggs Grown In Laboratory (bbc.com) 43

An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Human eggs have been grown in the laboratory for the first time, say researchers at the University of Edinburgh. The team say the technique could lead to new ways of preserving the fertility of children having cancer treatment. It is also an opportunity to explore how human eggs develop, much of which remains a mystery to science. Experts said it was an exciting breakthrough, but more work was needed before it could be used clinically. Women are born with immature eggs in their ovaries that can develop fully only after puberty. It has taken decades of work, but scientists can now grow eggs to maturity outside of the ovary. It requires carefully controlling laboratory conditions including oxygen levels, hormones, proteins that simulate growth and the medium in which the eggs are cultured. But while the scientists have shown it is possible, the approach published in the journal Molecular Human Reproduction still needs refinement. In the paper, the researchers describe "how they took ovarian tissue from 10 women in their late twenties and thirties and, over four steps involving different cocktails of nutrients, encouraged the eggs to develop from their earliest form to maturity," reports The Guardian. "Of the 48 eggs that reached the penultimate step of the process, nine reached full maturity."
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First Human Eggs Grown In Laboratory

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  • Silly (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, 2018 @11:54PM (#56098977)

    Humans don't lay eggs. They're mammals.

  • Troll posts (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheReaperD ( 937405 )

    What the hell is up with all the idiotic troll posts on this article? Who moved the rock?

  • by Hallux-F-Sinister ( 5127197 ) on Saturday February 10, 2018 @12:34AM (#56099069)
    We will always know, definitively, in the future, for OUR species, at least... which came first: it was the human, and not the egg. ;-)
  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Saturday February 10, 2018 @01:30AM (#56099171) Homepage Journal

    That's pretty cool. The one unfortunate thing is that it still requires you to start out with viable eggs, albeit undeveloped viable eggs, which won't help anyone who has already undergone those sorts of medical treatments.

    On the other hand, when we eventually do manage to grow eggs from normal cells, the medical ethics questions will get pretty crazy:

    • Should there be an upper age limit to prevent high rates of genetic defects?
    • Should it be illegal to create a baby with an unknowing girl by stealing a strand of her hair?
    • When it eventually happens anyway, what legal rights will the child have?
    • If you are asked to construct eggs from XY cells from someone who has undergone a gender change, are you ethically required to tell her husband?
    • When shaking the hand of your date, is it appropriate to wear a glove to prevent conception?

    And so on.

    As is often the case, I can't entirely tell if I'm joking or being serious with this comment. Moderate appropriately. :-D

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      When it eventually happens anyway, what legal rights will the child have?

      This one pretty settled already, doesn't matter if you got a blowjob or even if she found a used tissue... your DNA, your kid. It's more interesting how it plays into one of sci-fi's big themes about growing humans in a lab though. They're making progress on a artificial uterus [wikipedia.org], my guess is that sometime this century we'll be able to take undeveloped eggs, bring the eggs to maturity, fertilize them and grow babies in a tank. Let the clone wars begin...

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        They're making progress on a artificial uterus ...

        This one, I've been looking forward to for at least a decade, because it means we'll finally be able to put the abortion debate to rest once and for all. Victim of rape? Incest? At risk of death from pregnancy? No problem. We'll just transplant the fetus (intravaginally or by caesarean) into an artificial womb, and now the child has a right to life and the mother has a right to choose, all at the same time. No more false dichotomy promulgated by tyrant

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Actually totally incorrect. You start out as a viable egg, women start out as a viable egg. Up comes mr sperm and it is consumed and it's genetic resource is strip mined to trigger further grow. So women start with zero eggs and then the DNA process triggers the creation of the egg creation structure and juvenile eggs are made. Likely egg production and cancer have some core similarities, that growth from something else. A none egg cell, turning into an immature egg cell and growing from there. As for the o

  • Combine with this research [slashdot.org] and we'll soon have children made from artificial gametes. Now all we need are artificial wombs. Hey, what's a high-tech country whose women are too busy with their careers to go on maternity leave? Japan's a good bet for this. I would wonder if artificially-conceived children would violate China's one-child rule, but that was repealed already.

    • https://www.theverge.com/2017/... [theverge.com]

      Granted it hasn't been tested on humans (not that we know of, maybe in China?) but it's only a matter of time. I'm sure there will be a market from celebrity women not willing to lose their figure over pregnancy and not wanting to go through the hassle of surrogacy.

      So is it now feasible to talk about colonizing other worlds without having (living) humans going there? Send a spacecraft capable of creating it's own eggs (and having frozen sperm which I believe are easier to

      • by mentil ( 1748130 )

        Interesting, but a mother is still required up to the point where its blood vessels can be connected to the bag's umbilical.
        Those lamb bags make me think of sous vide... the comic almost writes itself.

  • by grungeman ( 590547 ) on Saturday February 10, 2018 @03:16AM (#56099331)
    Me (watching 6 year old son play Minecraft): Who are all those people running around?
    Son: Those are villagers.
    Me: And where do they come from?
    Son: Why, of course from eggs!

We gave you an atomic bomb, what do you want, mermaids? -- I. I. Rabi to the Atomic Energy Commission