The hope that same-sex couples to be biological parents in the future, gives a recent genetic breakthrough: scientists have obtained offspring from two females mice.
This marks a major breakthrough in genetic research, as scientists also received a healthy offspring from two of male mice.
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences were able to reproduce healthy mice as two mothers and two fathers, although the offspring of the two males lived only a few days.
Professor Qi Zhou, co-author of the study, said: “We were interested in the question of why mammals can’t change sexual reproduction. We made a few conclusions in the past, combining the reproduction and regeneration, so tried to find out, can be obtained from a conventional mouse with two parents-females or even two parents-men using haploid embryonic stem cells with deletion of genes.”
While other classes of animals including reptiles, amphibians and fish, can reproduce offspring with parents of the same gender, mammals, it seems, will soon be able to do the same.
In mammals certain genes are turned off as cells because of a mechanism called “genomic imprinting”.
This means that some children do not receive genetic material from mother and father, which leads to development problems.
Removing these imprinted genes from immature oocytes, the researchers had previously been able to reproduce mice have two females, but they still have defective characteristics.
In the new study, the researchers used haploid embryonic stem cells (by the ESCs) – cells from embryos that can develop into cells of any type, which contain half the normal number of chromosomes and the DNA of only one parent.
Then they removed three areas of imprinting in these haploid ESC before you enter them into the egg of another female mouse.
Incredibly, two mice gave birth to 29 living mice, which was normal, lived to adult life and even had his children.
Although the team notes that there are obstacles to overcome before these methods can be used in other mammals, they hope to study these methods in the future.
Professor Li added: “This study shows us that perhaps same-sex couples in the future will be able to have children.”
However, other researchers doubt that this method can ever be used in humans.
Dr. Dusko I. from King’s College London said: “we Consider the study of such technologies for application to humans in the near future unlikely. Risk of serious anomalies is too high, and for research on different animal models will take many years to fully understand how it can be done safely“.