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Maleless Mass Manufacturing

  1. Apr 22, 2004 #1
    They have produced mice with two genetic moms -- and no father.

    In fact, one of the mouse mothers was a mutant newborn, whose DNA had been altered to make it act like a male's contribution to an embryo.

    But the new work sheds light on why people, mice and other mammals normally need a male's DNA for reproduction, and some experts say it also has implications for the idea of using stem cells to treat disease.

    They say they produced two mice, one of which grew to maturity and gave birth.

    Experts also noted that it took hundreds of eggs to produce just two mice and that the health risks are unknown.

    However, the study provides new evidence for the standard explanation for why mammals normally need a male's DNA.

    Scientists say that in an embryo, some mammal genes behave differently if inherited from the father rather than the mother, and that this paternal activity pattern is needed for normal development.

    Relatively few genes act in that way, and they are said to be "imprinted." In some cases these genes are active only if inherited from the father, not the mother, and in other cases it is the other way around.

    That DNA was combined with genes from ordinary female mice to make reconstructed eggs. Only two of 457 such eggs produced living mice.

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2004 #2


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