There is an article over at Motherboard about the first successful attempt to create a human egg cell from blood. It’s the first exciting step in being able to create life when other ways aren’t viable.
The work was done in Kyoto University by a team of scientists lead by Mitinori Saitou. They’d previously been able to create mouse sperm and egg cells from stem cells. From there, they were able to successfully breed healthy baby mice.
To produce immature human eggs, Saitou and his colleagues used human blood cells to create induced pluripotent stem cells, which are notable for their ability to become any type of cell. These cells were then injected into tiny, artificial ovaries that were grown in the lab using embryonic cells derived from mice.
The eggs produced by Saitou and his colleagues are far too immature to be fertilized, much less grow into a human child. Still, they open the door for babies made from the genetic material of relatives, dead or alive. They could also provide a way for infertile people or same-sex partners to produce a child made from their own DNA.
While the applications for this technology are fascinating, there are quite a few technological roadblocks in the way to developing viable, healthy human life. We’re not ready to start making ready to order babies just yet, but this is an incredible advancement.