Scientific breakthrough could pave a new way for male couples to have children

A Japanese researcher has informed a major genetics conference that he has been able to create eggs from the cells of male mice, suggesting male couples could one day have their own children.

Professor Katsuhiko Hayashi, from Osaka University, presented his research at the human gene-editing summit at the Crick Institute in London on Wednesday. Professor Hayashi and his team claim they successfully created the eggs by turning male XY chromosome pairs from skin cells of male mice into female XX chromosome pairs.  

man carrying daughter in black sleeveless top

This was achieved by converting the skin cells into stem cells, deleting the Y chromosome, coping the X chromosomes, and then pairing the copies with the original X chromosome.

As a result, the stem cell was able to be programmed to become an egg, which was then fertilised with sperm from another mouse – experts say the technique was used to create seven mice pups that were born healthy and had a normal lifespan.

However, Professor George Daley, who was not involved in the research, but described it as ‘fascinating’, said the technique on human cells would be ‘harder than the mouse.’

Although, whilst Professor Hayashi claimed the method could take years before it can be used in human cells, as they require a longer period of cultivation to produce a mature egg, he said the problems could be overcome within 10 years and that his team have already progressed onto advancing the project with humans.

Against this backdrop, Professor Amander Clark, a stem cell scientist from the University of California, said the LGBTQ+ community should have a say in the process.

Speaking to BBC news, Professor Clark said: ‘The LGBTQ+ community have unique needs when it comes to having a family. It may be possible in the future for same-sex reproduction based upon current research using laboratory models to develop the technology.

‘However, today this technology is not available for human use, safety and efficacy has not been proven, and it is unclear how long the technology will take to get to the clinic.’

The results of the study have now been submitted for publication in the scientific journal Nature

Photo by Caroline Hernandez


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