Researchers from Cambridge University working together with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, have paired stem cell lines from embryos with the skin of five different adults, according to the study published in the journal Cell.
The medical experiment had previously succeeded in creating live baby mice, but this is the first study on humans in which the engineered cells created in the laboratory were compared to aborted fetuses to determine an identical match.
The team says it is possible to make human egg and sperm cells from the skin of two adults of the same gender – prompting interest from people with infertility diseases and gay couples.
“It has already caused interest from gay groups because of the possibility of making egg and sperm cells from parents of the same sex,” Jacob Hanna, the specialist leading the project’s Israeli arm, said to the Sunday Times.
The researchers noted to the Sunday Times that the development raises serious ethical issues, but many can potentially benefit from the technique they’ve been testing on humans since creating artificial human eggs and sperm for the first time last year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Assisted Reproductive Technology(ART) was performed at 456 clinics in the U.S. in 2012, resulting in 51,267 live births. Although still relatively “rare,” just over 1 percent of all infants born in the U.S. each year are conceived using ART methods.
Source: The Daily Grind