Tuesday, September 20, 2016

"Tricked" Eggs Lead to Healthy Baby Mice

Recently, an embryo has been developed without fertilization, being tricked by scientists. The outcome of this is called a parthenogenotes. These embyros were at first dying after a few days because they needed input from the sperm, but weren't received it since there was no fertilization. At Bath University, scientists from the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, have been working on a method using mouse parthenogenotes. Since they need input from the sperm to survive, the scientists began injecting the parthenogenotes with sperm. This allowed the embryos to develop into healthy baby mice. There was no percentage of success with the parthenogenotes without the sperm injected since the embryos would die, but when injecting the sperm, the success rate rose to 24%. According to Dr. Tony Perry, a molecular embryologist that was the senior author of this study, this was the first time that full development has been achieved by injecting sperm into embryos. Compared to the DNA of normal fertilised mice, the successful healthy developed mice had different epigenetic marks. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene activity that don't involve alterations to the genetic code. These epigenetic marks tells genes to switch on or off and can either be chemical or protein. This difference between the two types of mice suggests that there could be two separate epigenetic pathways with the same developmental destination.
Stemmed off of this research is the possibility that human parthenegenotes could be used as a source for embryotic stem cells, but this has ethical implications. Besides using mice, could it also be possible to breed animals without using egg cells and sperm? In the future, we may be finding this out as studies progress on this topic. In my opinion, this research will be extremely valuable. More often than not, studies with mice proceed to ground breaking research that can be applied on a variety of other species and even humans. It is extremely interesting to see that healthy baby mice can form without using fertilization and just using the injection of sperm.

No comments:

Post a Comment