Since 1827 when humans first discovered and observed mammalian eggs, there has been a widely-held notion within the scientific community that only eggs that are fertilized by sperms can give rise to a live mammalian young one. However, this is not the case anymore, thanks to new scientific findings.
Researchers at Kyushu University in Japan have found an ingenious way to bypass the normal mammal fertilization. This was carried out by extracting skin cells from the tail of a 10-weeks old mouse (equivalent to 30-year old human being). These skin cells were then converted into induced pluripotent stem cells (cells that can continue to divide/multiply to form various other types of cells.) The resultant cells were then placed into specially-selected compounds. The cells resulted into immature egg cells. Tiny clumps of fetal ovarian cells were then placed alongside those immature egg cells. They grew and matured much like those that were fertilized naturally. A total of 4,048 mature eggs were then developed.
The results of the findings, as well as the tiny details regarding the research methodology, have been published in the authoritative Nature Communications journal. Up to this point in time, however, only mice and dogs have been tested; no humans or any other species have been tested for this methodology so far.
This scientific breakthrough may be used to solve several reproductive issues that have so far affected mankind. Barren women or those who have already reached their menopause but who would still wish to bear children may also be given a new lease of life. Same-sex couples can also benefit from this technology owing to the fact that actual sexual contact between sperm and the female egg will not be a prerequisite for reproduction.
Additionally, endangered animal species may be restocked with this new technique as well.
Though still in its nascent stages, this scientific breakthrough has already elicited sharp indignations from various parties, among which the church being chief. The bone of contention is mainly the ethical aspect of this whole matter. There are fears that the traditional family as we know it today can crumble as individuals will no longer be required to couple to have their own children. This might lead to social breakdown.
As has already been hinted out, it is still unclear whether this technology may be used successfully in humans, as we differ slightly from other mammals as pertains reproduction matters. We therefore all have to wait and see just how many benefits humans could derive from this ingenious technology in the future.