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(CBS Local) — Scientists in China said Thursday they have used gene editing and stem cell techniques to produce healthy mice from two mothers.
The researchers successfully used stem cells from two female mice to create pups that not only thrived, but went on to have babies on their own.
The study, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, produced 29 bi-maternal mice using 210 embryos.
“The mice were normal, lived to adulthood, and had babies of their own,” though they showed some “defective features, according to researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
To create their bimaternal mice, a team of scientists used cells known as haploid embryonic stem cells (ESCs), which contain half the normal number of chromosomes and DNA from only one parent.
Using gene editing techniques, the researchers created the mice with two mothers by deleting three imprinting regions of the genome from haploid ESCs containing a female parent’s DNA and injected them into their eggs from another female mouse.
The scientists said there are still obstacles to using such methods in other mammals. And experts said there was no prospect of it being translated soon into humans for the creation of “gay” or “lesbian” babies.
“To consider exploring similar technology for human application in the near future is implausible,” Dusko Ilic, a stem cell specialist at King’s College London, told Reuters.
“The risk of severe abnormalities is too high, and it would take years of research in various animal models to fully understand how this could be done safely.”