(LifeSiteNews) – Scientists in Japan have successfully bred a mouse with two genetic fathers by turning a male skin cell into an egg cell, raising ethical concerns regarding the technique’s potential use on humans.
Katsuhiko Hayashi, a biologist at the University of Osaka, announced last week that his team had helped conceive seven “healthy” mice pups using two genetic “fathers” in each case, marking the “first case of making robust mammal [eggs] from male cells.”
The strange feat was accomplished first by turning male skin cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, and these cells in turn had their Y chromosomes deleted and replaced by an X chromosome “borrowed” from another cell.
“The trick of this, the biggest trick, is the duplication of the X chromosome,” said Hayashi, The Guardian reported.
These XX iPS cells were then “cultivated in an ovary organoid, a culture system designed to replicate the conditions inside a mouse ovary,” before being fertilized with sperm. The 600 resulting embryos were implanted into surrogate mother mice, with seven of the 600 mice surviving to birth and even having a “normal lifespan” and going on to become fathers themselves.
Hayashi said the baby mice “look OK” and appear to be “growing normally,” but has not publicly addressed whether there may be yet-undiscovered abnormalities or defects in the offspring mice.
Such techniques are already being attempted to conceive human beings. Sam Altman, a homosexual who co-founded OpenAI with Elon Musk, has invested in a company called Conception, which “plans to grow viable human eggs out of stem cells and could allow two biological males to reproduce,” according to a Business Insider exposé, War Room transhumanism editor Joe Allen shared on Twitter.
Sam Altman, the gay tech magnate who co-founded OpenAI with Elon Musk, has invested in the company Conception.
The startup “plans to grow viable human eggs out of stem cells and could allow two biological males to reproduce.”https://t.co/LaRkB8RYv3
— Joe Allen (@JOEBOTxyz) March 12, 2023
Allen dubbed the mice offspring “Gaybies.”
Hayashi’s team is also now working to replicate their achievement in humans. Hayashi believes the technology needed to create a viable human egg from a male skin cell will be available in 10 years, although others have pointed out that this has significant added hurdles in human cells.
Professor Amander Clark, who was one of the first to help develop iPS cells at the University of California Los Angeles, said that achieving Hayashi’s results in human cells would be a “huge leap” because scientists have not yet been able to create mature human eggs even from female cells in a lab.
Scientists have until now only been able to create the precursors to egg cells, as their experimental cells have stopped developing before meiosis, the cell division that is key to creating gametes.
“We’re poised at this bottleneck at the moment,” Clark said. “The next steps are an engineering challenge. But getting through that could be 10 years or 20 years.”
Others have pointed out that the greater length of time needed to potentially produce a mature human egg increases the risk of genetic abnormalities.
Hayashi has said that the main motivation for his human research is its potential to treat forms of infertility such as Turner’s syndrome, in which women have one copy of the X chromosome missing or partly missing.
However, he would also welcome the technique’s use to allow two men to genetically father a child if it were shown to be safe.
Other scientists reportedly hope such a method could open the door to single-parent children.
Author Wesley Smith has raised concerns about the safety and well-being of the babies conceived by such methods and has pointed to other ethical concerns surrounding the procreative technique.
“And what about the baby? There is no assurance that the baby would not be harmed by such biological manipulation. Or, is that a secondary concern to the great contemporary maw of ‘I want?’” Wesley protested in National Review.
He also pointed out that the experiments required to demonstrate the safety of such manipulated procreation would “almost surely involve repeated abortions, stillbirths, or babies born with birth defects” “to perfect techniques.”
“Because we might be able to figure out how to twist nature into a knot doesn’t mean that we should. The time is long past due to legally regulate human experiments in this field of biotechnology before it is too late,” Smith said.
Mice have previously been bred that carry the genetic material of two technical biological fathers through an elaborate, multi-generational chain of steps in which a mother mouse is still involved in conception, but scientists have not successfully created an egg cell from male cells until now.