Fully functional and fertilized mice eggs made using skin cells

Japanese scientists have made a breakthrough that may one day be the miracle answer people around the world who suffer from fertility issues have been looking for. Researcher Katsuhiko Hayashi and colleagues from Kyushu University in Japan have devised a way to create fully fertilized and viable eggs using skin cells. This is the first time that scientists have been able to produce fully functional eggs for mammals entirely within in a petri dish.

Those fully functional eggs were later used to produce healthy mouse pups. The team of researchers created the viable artificial eggs using stem cells and then fertilized the eggs to result in healthy offspring that are fertile themselves. The scientists note that this is also the first time eggs have been produced outside of a mouse.

The process the scientists have invented turns the mouse skin cells into primary germ cells. The new techniques turn those germ cells into egg cells. Egg cells are the only type of cells that are able to divide and produce all the specialized cells needed for a functional organism. The process of creating the viable eggs included extracting skin cells from the tails of 10-week old mice, those cells were then turned into pluripotent stem cells.

That type of stem cell can turn into just about any type of cell in the body. Those cells were then immersed in some sort of chemical bath that turned the eggs into immature egg cells. Tissue taken from the ovaries of a mouse fetuses was used to turn the egg cells into mature egg cells. The fertilized eggs were then placed into surrogate mice and some of these mice gave birth to healthy pups. If the new technique is perfected, this could one day lead to a new way for people faced with fertility issues to have children. Researchers think there is possibly another decade of work to sort out issues remaining with the process.

SOURCE: Gizmodo