Researchers create artificial egg and sperm using human embryo stem cells. Scientist from University of Cambridge in UK have been able to reproduce a human egg and sperm using stem cells from the human embryo and adult skin tissue.
This is not the first time that scientist have created egg and sperm cells. There have been don other experiments in the past except they used rodent stem cells.
An accomplishment like this one, could have great implications not only when it comes to fertility treatments but also may help researchers develop new cures for age related diseases, said lead researcher Prof. Azim Surani, of the Gurdon Institute at the University of Cambridge
By comparing the rodent experiment to the human one, scientists have found big differences in the development of the embryo. This means that the studies on mice and rats may not apply to humans.
In their study, the team of scientists, discovered, that a gene named SOX17 plays a decisive role in a process called “specification” – during which human stem cells are transformed into primordial germ cells. Past studies have found that the gene SOX17 has a lot to do with changing human stem cells into endodermal cells, but tit’s the first time the gene has been linked to PGC specification. The equivalent gene of S0Z17 in mice, showed that is not involved in primordial germ cells specification.
Their finding are explained in the journal Cell. Basically they explained that the primordial germ cells, are the cells that turn into sperm and egg and are created during the early stages of the development of mammals. When mammals reproduce, the primordial germ cells pass on the genetic data to their offspring.
After the sperm fertilises the egg, the egg makes a blastocyst, a group of cells that turn to life in the early stages of the embryo. Certain cells inside the blastocyst form the inner cell mass, which turns into the fetus. Other cells from the blastocyst create the outer wall, more precisely, the placenta, explained professor Surani and his team.
Researchers have mentioned that some cells from the inner cells mass, can change into stem cells. Stem cells are cells that can turn into any cell type in the body. Certain stem cells turn into primordial germ cells.
“It’s a stage we’ve managed to recreate using stem cells from mice and rats, but until now few researchers have done this systematically using human stem cells.”said first study author Dr. Naoko Irie, also of the Gurdon Institute at the University of Cambridge.
Image Source: IFL Science