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Report Shows Eggs, Healthy Offspring Created from Stem Cells

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NPR,  Oct 09, 2012

Reports from Japan say scientists have created eggs from mouse stem cells, then bred healthy offspring from these eggs.

Published this week in the journal Science, Professor Mitinori Saitou and his team at Kyoto University achieved this unprecedented goal which may open doors for human reproduction, though further research is warranted.

Professor John Gearhart of the University of Pennsylvania, a pioneer in the field of stem cell research, believes mice are so genetically similar to humans, that it is just a matter of time before we are able to create human eggs and offspring. "I think this will be worked out in time. I don't have any doubt about it," says Gearhart.

Currently, embryonic stem cell research poses controversy due to the fact that embryos from which these stem cells are obtained are later destroyed. However, this particular research uses cells that appear identical to embryonic stem cells, but are created from adult cells like skin or blood cells. This could eliminate any ethical controversy regarding embryo destruction.

By these methods, eggs could be created from women at any age to be fertilized and used in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle, potentially stalling the loudly ticking biological clock. Saitou’s research team has previously created sperm from stem cells--both factors proposing big things for the future of infertility treatment and research.

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