PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
Mawethu Bilibana
 
Comments: 14
Article views: 299
 
 
Latest Badges:

 
View all Mawethu Bilibana's badges.
 

Mice who have genetic material from two fathers but nary a mother

16 January 2013, 08:39
Scientists have created mice that are the genetic product of two fathers, the latest in a series of unusual experiments in mammalian reproduction. Researchers at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and elsewhere first engineered a female mouse whose eggs contained the DNA from a male.

When the female was mated with another male, the offspring had genetic contributions entirely from two males. The study appears online in the peer-reviewed journal Biology of Reproduction.   While the achievement is technically intriguing, its practical benefits are far from clear. Any move to try the same experiment in people is certain to be more complicated and controversial.

The study describes the technique as “a new form of mammalian reproduction” that could potentially be used to improve livestock breeds or preserve endangered species. More provocatively, the authors argue that if certain technical hurdles can be overcome, “then some day two men could produce their own genetic sons and daughters.” But those technical hurdles are extremely high.

“It has been a weird project, but we wanted to see if it could be done” in mice, says Richard Behringer, lead author of the study and a developmental geneticist at M.D. Anderson in Houston.   New techniques are allowing scientists to tweak the biology of reproduction in unusual ways. In April, scientists at U.K.’s Newcastle University created embryos with DNA taken from a man and two women.

The research, published in the journal Nature, was undertaken to potentially help mothers avoid passing on rare genetic disorders to their children. The embryos weren’t brought to term. In 2009, a cloning-related method was used to produce monkeys with genetic material from two mothers.   So how is it possible to engineer mice whose genetic material is entirely from two males?  A human embryo has 46 chromosomes, including two that determine sex.

Females normally have two of the same, written as XX, while males have an X and a Y chromosome, or XY.   In the latest experiment, Dr. Behringer and his colleagues first took a cell from a male mouse—Dad A. They reprogrammed the cell so it became similar to an embryonic stem cell, which eventually gives rise to all the tissues of the body. When copies of the cell were grown in a cell line, about 1% spontaneously lost the Y chromosome, an occurrence that happens when mistakes creep in during cell division.

These cells—with Dad A’s original X chromosome but not the Y chromosome—were injected into blastocysts, early-stage embryos created from donor egg and sperm. The treated blastocysts then were transferred into surrogate mothers.   When the mouse babies were born, they had cells from both the blastocyst and from Dad A—so-called chimeras, which are creatures composed of at least two genetically distinct types of cells. When the females matured, some produced eggs containing only Dad A’s genetic material.

As a final step, the female chimeras mated with an ordinary male mouse, Dad B. Some of the resulting progeny, both male and female, were made entirely from the genetic material originating in the two dads.   One hitch was that, as part of the reprogramming step, the researchers added certain genes that triggered tumors in some mice, an inherent problem in the current approach used for cell reprogramming.  

Trying this in humans is a much bigger challenge. When a human embryo inherits only one X chromosome (instead of one chromosome from each parent) it tends to die. Rarely, females are born this way, called Turner syndrome, and all are infertile. And scientists would also have to find a way to create eggs without creating human chimeras, which is ethically contentious.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
14 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Zama Moyo
Africa Must Stop Rising and Start...

My contention is that, unless two issues are acknowledged and attended to, we may find ourselves punting 2016 as Africa’s big year, then 2017, and so on. Read more...

5 comments 220 views
Submitted by
Gideon Joubert
Don't disarm my SAPS

Campaigning for the disarmament of citizens is a repellent pastime in itself, and is but a degree removed from demanding that the police themselves be disarmed as well.  Read more...

10 comments 150 views
Submitted by
MWF
Greed leading the blind

People of South Africa. I know we have our differences and we have a tainted past, but come on? Let’s not cripple our nation, just to prove a point to each other?  Read more...

1 comments 68 views
Submitted by
Tendani Siala
The Mystery of R700bn Corruption ...

Many people seemed quite happy to accept the R700bn figure at face value without any question. Read more...

9 comments 476 views
Submitted by
PeterTracey
Decisions, decisions

Some things are not as easy as they seem. Read more...

0 comments 302 views
Submitted by
James Matoma
Bafana is a national embarrassmen...

How can the minister of sports and recreation, Fikile Mbalula, claim that he was satisfied with Bafana Bafana’s performance? Read more...

20 comments 861 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Games on Sale!

Save up to 60% on selected games. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2015 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.