The journal Science has published an interesting article by a Japanese group, led by Mitonori Saitou, which describes the production of oogonia from female blood cells.
According to Carlos Simón, an expert in this area (see HERE ), “a mature oocyte has not yet been obtained, ready to be fertilized in vitro, but there are other clinical trials with mice that have achieved complete reproductive cells (see HERE)”.
The aforementioned study opens the door to human gametogenesis, i.e. to the creation of gametes in vitro. Thus, in this expert’s opinion, if this becomes a reality, males would no longer be needed for reproduction. Parallel efforts could also lead to the in vitro formation of sperm cells. If both gametes—male and female—could be obtained from the blood cells of a woman, or even her other adult somatic cells, such as for example, skin cells, men could become redundant for producing new human beings.
From a technical point of view, the Japanese authors reprogrammed pluripotent stem cells into primordial germ cell-like cells, although as they themselves say, they were unable to produce mature germ cells.
These findings pave the way to the creation of germ cells from pluripotent stem cells, which could be a fundamental step to achieving human in vitro gametogenesis.
Serious bioethical questions of this eventual practice
Although the cells used in this experiment were always adult stem cells, the study itself includes objective bioethical questions that will have to be carefully analyzed as these techniques advance.
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