Raising expectations for a time in the not-so-distant future that same sex human couples may be able to have their own genetic children, reproductive specialists at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas published their work assisting this procedure in male mice.
The study, published today in the Biology of Reproduction online edition, described the method by which scientists manipulated fibroblasts from a male fetus to an induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell line. Though males typically have XY reproductive cells, some of the manipulated cells spontaneously lost the Y chromosome and those cells became XO cells.
The XO cells were harvested and injected into the embryos of female mice, which were then transplanted into female mice to act as surrogate moms before and during the birthing process. The babies born from the surrogate moms showed the genetic contributions of two fathers, even though the babies were both male and female.
Though researchers speculate about the eventual ability for assisted reproductive technology (ART) to enable same sex couples to have children with their own genetic makeup, that is a long way off. It seems the first goal of this research is to improve the preservation of endangered species and the improvement of livestock breeds.