Japanese Will Be Able To Produce Babies In Labs By 2028: Report
A team of Japanese researchers is working on a method to develop babies in the lab starting in 2028, according to a study that may help treat infertility and other birth defects. Researchers at Kyushu University aim to mass-produce eggs and sperm in the laboratory from ordinary human cells. In the study, published in the journal Nature, the team described their method for converting skin cells from male mice into pluripotent stem cells, which can potentially develop into various types of cells or tissues. They then cultured these cells with a drug that turned male rodent stem cells into female cells, which produced viable eggs. These eggs were then fertilized to produce newborn male mice.
“The study provides information that could ameliorate infertility caused by autosomal or sex chromosomal disorders, and opens the possibility of bipaternal reproduction,” Professor Katsuhiko Hayashi, an expert in stem cell biology on the university team, wrote in the paper. Previously, his team used the synthetic surrogacy method to create baby mice from two male rodents. In the new study, only seven of 630 embryos developed into live mouse pups. The researchers believe that the experiment may have potential implications for human reproduction. “It’s a very smart strategy,” Diana Laird, an expert in stem cells and reproduction at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the research, told the New York Post.
“It is an important step in both reproductive and stem cell biology.” In fact, in theory, the process could be replicated in humans by infusing embryos generated through pluripotent stem cells into a female womb. Dr. Hayashi estimates that it would take about half a decade to replicate the production of egg-like cells in humans, and 10 to 20 years of testing to ensure that this artificial reproductive method is safe for use in clinics. “Purely in terms of technology, it will be possible [in humans] even in 10 years,” he previously told The Guardian. “I don’t know if they will be available for breeding,” he said. “That’s not just a question for the science program, but also for (society).”