Here ye, Here ye. After many years of women becoming mothers without a man in the process (sort of), using artificial insemination to ingest sperm into their birth canals and having babies, scientists have conducted preliminary experiments that may make it possible for babies to be made with a sperm and ‘fake embryo’.1
Using mice, scientists created healthy baby mice by tricking the sperm into considering that the eggs they were fertilizing were ‘real’ eggs.
So, in the distant future, we may see baby daddies alone, with the woman being removed from the process, say the researchers of Nature Communications.
(Cue: Cheers by men who want to be father and sobs of the already burdened Mother Earth)
Although seeming like the end of the classic mom and dad picture, it has uncovered some nitty-gritty details about fertilization.
Here is the backstory to this stellar discovery.
Scientists from the University of Bath conducted initial experiments with an unfertilized egg. First, they used chemicals that induced the embryo to think it had become a pseudo-embryo. Basically putting it under a placebo effect.
So, then these ‘fake’ embryos, which share similar characteristics to normal body cells such as skin cells, also start to generate and affect DNA creation.
Since that was possible, the scientists wondered if they could insert sperm into this embryo and even fertilize the ‘fake’ embryo to make “real” mouse babies. This breakthrough could make it possible to use cells from a human that are not eggs and fertilize them.
They calculated the chances of any babies to be one in four, but Dr. Tony Perry, a researcher on the project said, this is the very first time anyone has ever shown that it is possible for a cell that is NOT an egg to be fused with a sperm and produce offspring.
Putting close to 200 years of reproductive knowledge under the microscope.
Besides, seeing those ‘pseudo’ baby mice, those mice even produced their own healthy off-spring.
A new goal set by researchers is to further comprehend what ‘exactly’ goes on in detail when an egg and sperm fuse, as there are certain dark corners that they have yet not explored.
Like, what if the egg actually fully devours the sperm of its DNA and chemical components and then recreates it?
Or does the sperm stop doing its thing and actually does the spade work by becoming the embryo itself in fertilization?
Kind of like shedding one persona and assuming another. These are some theories being worked with.
In a more cultural angle, this idea of eliminating the need for an egg could take us for a spin.
For example, two men could have a child by donating one ordinary cell and one sperm to fuse and give them their own biological baby. Likewise, a single man could use his own cell and sperm make a baby from his DNA alone, making the kid a non-identical twin and not a clone.
This was an experiment first conducted in China, and a lot of papers have been written on it ever since. On basis of this, such cellular reprogramming will also attract some controversy, but is still relevant to exploring chances of cloning and even extending cellular life, further.
This is all still predictive knowledge and being studied so please calm down, women, men and of course sci-fi fans.
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