Chinese researchers have, in what is being called a breakthrough study, produced healthy viable mice babies from a pair of same-sex mice. For the study, published in the Cell Stem Cell journal Thursday, the researchers utilized technology to alter stem cells to edit or remove targeted genes.
Although the applications or methods used in the study are broadly theoretical as of now, there are chances of them helping to improve the current cloning methods among mammals as well as fertility treatments used for couples of same sex. While other studies have also looked at several ways of producing babies from couples of the same sex, this latest study is the first one where the researchers were successfully able to implement such a method.
Even though the team of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences produced healthy mice offspring from a pair of female mice, who went ahead to have babies of their own, the offspring produced with a pair of male mice did not fare well. Out of the 12 mice babies born from a male pair, only two were able to survive for just a little over 48 hours.
Although research based on same-sex reproduction may appear pretty unusual, there are several species which can reproduce through the methods which don’t include a male-female pair. Animal species such as amphibians, reptiles as well as fish can reproduce offspring with only one parent. However, the process in mammals is extremely problematic and complicated.
The method used in the research is practically tricky on an ethical ground if it is ever considered for the humans as earlier studies, where genetic alteration as well as novel techniques of producing offspring was used, triggered fears about the inference if such a process is applied for humans.