Last month, a team of British scientists successfully made healthy, fertile mice from pseudo-egg cells that resembled fertilized embryos. The story made waves: compared to normal egg cells, the pseudo-eggs were more similar to non-sex cells such as skin cells. The implications were tantalizing: one day, in the far future, we may be able to make “motherless” babies without the need for eggs.
Welcome to the future.
This week, a team from Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan successfully used skin cells to make fully functional mouse egg cells completely in a dish. When artificially inseminated and brought to term in surrogate mothers, the artificial eggs developed into healthy baby mice that lived normal lives, eventually giving birth to pups of their own. The study was published in the prestigious academic journal Nature.
“This is a very exciting study, to be able to make robust and functional mouse oocytes (egg cells) over and over again entirely in a dish,” wrote Dr. Jacob Hanna, a reproductive scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Revohot, Israel, who was not involved in the study, in an email to Singularity Hub.