By Janet Fang
Posting in Cancer
Using stem cell technology, researchers have created mice that have two genetic fathers. This advance could give same-sex couples their own genetic children one day.
Using stem cell technology, Texas researchers have created mice who have two genetic fathers – an advance that could give same-sex couples their own genetic children one day.
Indeed. Birds, bees, storks, mice from Maine, fancy lab manipulations, the works.
Step 1: The researchers took cells from a male mouse (Dad #1) and reprogrammed them to act like embryonic stem cells.
Step 2: They grew these special ‘to-be-determined’ cells in a culture. Sometimes, when these cells are copied, a mistake happens in the cell division process, and about 1% of them will spontaneously lose their Y chromosomes.
Step 3: They took cells containing just Dad #1’s X chromosome (that is, XO cells) and injected them into early-stage embryos (which were created from an egg and sperm, the old fashioned way).
Step 4: They transplanted those embryos into a surrogate mouse mother, who gave birth to female mice. These baby girls were chimeras with cells from at least two genetically distinct cell types. Some of their eggs contain just the single X chromosome from Dad #1.
Step 5: When these chimeric girls came of age, the scientists mated them with a normal male (Dad #2).
And presto stork-o! A few weeks later, sons (XY) and daughters (XO and XX) were born who only have DNA from Dads #1 and #2.
The researchers say this double-daddy DNA technique could be used to combine traits of two males to possibly, one day, create offspring from either two fathers or two mothers. But it’s still a long way before this technique can be applied in humans. For starters, when a human embryo inherits just one X chromosome (rather than one from each parent), it will likely die. Sometimes, girls (XO) are born this way but cannot have children – this is called Turner syndrome. And then there’s the whole separate issue of human chimeras.
“If this is possible, then some day two men could produce their own genetic sons and daughters,” the authors write. It may also be possible to “generate sperm from a female donor (converting XX to XO to XY) and produce viable male and female progeny with two mothers.”
The study was published in Biology of Reproduction last week.
Image by Snaphappy#1 via Flickr
Dec 13, 2010
@mheartwood: There is technically a biological mother, yes, but the headline emphasizes how mice were created without any maternal genetic contribution.
Fascinating! There could open many possibilities for many people. All the snarkiness about Fang's smile, &c.,says more about the commenters than they probably realize. Pathetic.
Let me put this into a different perspective. So-called Dad #1 was cloned into a female mouse. That makes the clone effectively the daughter of so-called Dad #1. (When other species breed by parthanogenisis, we say that the children who are clones are daughters of their single parent, so this should be the case here as well.) The clone then breeds with Dad #2 and gives birth. That makes the clone the mother of her offspring and so-called Dad #1 the grandfather. Therefore, there is a Mom. How about fixing the headline?
This technology can be used to help bring back recently extinct species, Or prevent a species from going extinct if most of one sex dies off. While is may never be ok for same sex human reproduction, it is another tool in the tool box for researchers which may lead to cancer cures and the like. Although it maybe used in a SiFi book with a all boy/girl out post who wants to repopulate a plant.
Instead of trying to increase the population on an already over-burdened planet, would it not be preferable to try and improve the quality of life? God knows we need to make people's lives better and safer by growing better food, reducing pollution, getting a grip on pathogenic bacteria like MRSA that are antibiotic resistant? Sounds like an admirable goal to me. How about you?
By the way, what does this have to do with health care and what is the rationale for incuding this technological 'advancement' under the SmartPlanet umbrella?
By the way, that is a nasty looking would on the mouse's left ear. I don't like scared looking animals with obvious damage done to them. It reminds me of man's inhumanity to man, and to all the little creatures of this world.
Lets see, forgetting about cancer and heart disease there are hundreds of neuromuscular diseases that are natural targets for stem cell treatment. I suppose this research is better than ED treatments for welfare fathers but not by much. But then after the Planet warming scandal by scientists this past year I suppose chasing after the dollar by coming up with something that will sell for big bucks is just par for the course for this generation's crop of scientists.
I'm glad some others see the ghoulishness in this. It's disturbing how Ms. Fang's beautiful smile is juxtaposed with the story of this atrocity. Great for mice, I guess, but what of a human "chimeric" girl? Please spare me the Post-it note-type "who knows what will happen" quips. They are just not intellectually honest. There's cancer out there, waiting to be eradicated. Get back to work.
Another waste of government funds when the country is already running a huge deficit. These researchers are working at the U of T CANCER center, therefore, they should be working on finding cures for CANCER, not wasting taxpayers' money re-inventing how to make babies. These so-called "researchers" look to be advancing their own agenda, and trying to make a name for themselves on taxpayers' dollars. And also, once these single chromosone babies are "made", and mature, and then have abnormal health problems, guess who will be paying for their medical bills? I can forsee a class action lawsuit against the U of T and the U. S. of A. for not warning the "families" about the future health risks of the "procedure". The big loser is the taxpayer, yet again. If a loving committed couple want a child but are unable to have one, then they can adopt. There are many orphaned or abandoned children who would love to be a part of a loving family. my 2 cents' worth, before taxes.
The headline is wrong, there is a mom as an intermediate step. The steps were to create a "two father offspring" could have been done a bit easier. Combine Father A's sperm with several eggs (to assure that a female will be born) then when the female offspring is mature then combine the sperm from Father B to conceive children. Either way, the intermediate female step would not work so well for species like ours that takes up to 2 decades to mature.
Why do this for .04% of the population? My not spend limited resources and dealing with cancer or other disease. It is immoral to engage in this behavior when a significant number of people would have benefited from that time and energy spent in the form of controlling/curing people with cancer who are dying on a daily basis. Further why didn't these doctors analyzing the consequences ahead of time. Of course there are those that insist man should abound morality and consciousness when it comes to dong anything we want. After all we can kill another human so why have laws to criminalize this act? I did not know this was an issue to spend public funds on.
I don't like to be snarky, but I can't help thinking that Blankenhorn must be lovin' what his little Berkely intern is doing here. 'Could do' does not mean 'should do'. Yes, that means there is right and there is wrong. I appreciate and concur with the previous posters (1-4) Just one more example of the extreme narcissism of our age. But it also demonstrates, in a clinical way, how mammalian homosexuality is just unnatural. Way unnatural. Returning to the moral argument, I encourage reading and careful deliberation of the following: http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,161-1-11-1,FF.html
Let's see... There are the men and women who raise the child. Primary male referred to as "Dad", primary woman referred to as "Mom". Secondaries referred to as aunts and uncles. There's the birth mother who gestates the embryo. There's the woman who donates the egg, but the nucleus is removed. There's the two men or two women, or man and woman who each donate half the genetics for the nucleus. Of course you could try to make a child with a separate donor for each chromosome. Or try Craig Venter's method and build the whole thing from scratch.
Everything starts somewhere. Where it goes from there, nobody knows. The more unusual the beginning, the more unusual the end. Where's the STOP button and who pushes it?
?It has been a weird project, but we wanted to see if it could be done? - shouldn't we save the outrage inducement for things that would benefit mankind?
Oh my gosh, what a waste of science! I mean, it's interesting that it is possible to do this, but what is the real benefit? No, I'm not homophobic, but read this carefully. You're creating offspring that will probably die (inheriting just one X chromosome), and then you have to wait for the child to get old enough to get pregnant so you can impregnate her and get the kid with both dad's/mom's genes? This is nuts!