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Healthy mice with same-sex parents born for first time

Black mouse

Healthy mice with two mothers have been born for the first time in a study that pushes the boundaries of reproductive science.

Mice with two fathers were also born, but only survived a couple of days, the Chinese team behind the work reported. There is no imminent prospect of the techniques being used clinically in people, but the findings demonstrate that the biological barriers to same-sex reproduction can, technically, be overcome.

Scientists have previously managed to produce baby mice with same-sex parents, but the offspring had serious abnormalities and the methods used often required convoluted sequences of genetic manipulations, sometimes involving several generations of mice.

When the modified stem cells were injected into the unfertilised egg of a second female mouse, the genetic material from the two female mice combined to form an embryo.

They produced 29 live mice from 210 embryos. The mice were normal, lived to adulthood and had babies of their own.

A similar experiment was performed using sperm and genetically modified stem cells from a male mouse, which were injected into a female egg that had been stripped of its own genetic material. These embryos were transferred to surrogate mothers, who carried them to term. But the pups only survived 48 hours after birth.

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Healthy mice with same-sex parents born for first time

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