A new technique that produces healthy mice without fertilization of egg with sperm

Emobileclinic  Researchers Corner



Researchers from the University of Bath, United Kingdom have developed a new technique that involves the use of sperm to fertilize embryos rather than eggs resulting in the birth of a healthy mice. This landmark finding was published in the Journal of Nature Communications. It is the opinion of the team that it is possible to achieve baby without a female egg.


Existing literatures on fertility believe that it is when a sperm meets a female egg that fertilization can takes place. Since the fertilization process became known in the late 1800s, scientists have long believed that only an egg has the ability to reprogram a sperm in order to trigger embryonic development.

Furthermore, several studies held that it is possible to manipulate a non-fertilized egg to form an embryo resulting in parthenogenotes. However, due to the absence of sperm, the resulting embryos only survived for a few days.
In this new study, Dr Tony Perry and colleagues show that in mice, injecting sperm into parthenogenotes can spur full-term embryonic development, leading to the birth of healthy offspring.
The team injected sperm nuclei into mice parthenogenotes that were chemically treated to contain a single set of unpaired chromosomes, as opposed to a set of paired chromosomes that usually arise when a sperm meets an egg.

Their finding revealed that the method brought about the production of healthy offspring of about 24 percent success rate. In comparison, the non-injected mice parthenogenotes had no offspring with a 2 percent success rate occurred with nuclear transfer cloning.
The team affirmed that injected embryos had chromosomal and DNA similarities to non-injected embryos, however, it was observed that the injected embryos had different cellular processes. In their view, the observation suggests that several ways exist in which sperm can be reprogrammed to trigger embryonic development and conclude that sperm is not solely dependent on the egg.

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According to the team, “it had been thought that only an egg cell was capable of reprogramming sperm to allow embryonic development to take place.
Our work challenges the dogma, held since early embryologists first observed mammalian eggs around 1827 and observed fertilization 50 years later, that only an egg cell fertilized with a sperm cell can result in a live mammalian birth.”
The team is unaware of the challenges in using this on humans as they remarked that there is a long way to go before this fertilization technique can be tested in humans, “one possibility, in the distant future, is that it might be possible that ordinary cells in the body can be combined with a sperm so that an embryo is formed”.

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