Stem cells used to grow mouse eggs in lab :: Further research required to optimize process

Stem cell technology used to produce eggs from initial stage.


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Stem cell technology has been portrayed as the technology of the future with a vast potential for assisting in the development of important cures and medical solutions for diseases that were assumed to be incurable till now.
The latest news emerging regarding this stem cell technology comes from Japan; it was declared on Monday by a team of Japanese scientists that they were successful in laboratory experiments and had developed a mouse.
It was the first time that anyone in the world had produced a mouse with the whole process being conducted within the laboratory.

A medical first

The unprecedented event was considered to be a first in the medical researchers some of whom could not believe that the unthinkable has at last come to pass. The process was stated to be almost successful when the scientists managed to come up with the production of mouse eggs within the laboratory.

After having been successful in this process, the scientist then conducted the next stage of this stage of reproduction, they fertilized the artificially produced eggs. This resulted in the birth of some healthy mice. There was reluctant appreciation by some acknowledged experts in reproduction in human beings.

The new technique which has seen success is quite tricky since you first have to simulate the conditions in such a controlled manner that the stem cells are influenced to grow into mature cells.

The issues involved are still not acceptable and the amount of risks and controversies that other researchers are putting forward are too great.

Scientific experts claim that there are too many unknown quantities and it may take a long time before the decision to conduct testing on human beings is given the final green signal.

The main objection to the acceptance of the experiments as entirely successful comes from the doubts raised by some experts that there may be some chromosomal deficiencies or abnormalities in the eggs that were grown in the laboratory.

The comments of University of Edinburgh’s Richard Anderson were also quite hesitant in acknowledging that a real breakthrough had indeed taken place since any claim or new find has to be conclusively proved many times over and successfully repeated many a times.

The percentage of successful attempts has to be really high before the results come into the category of successful.

Moreover, the final product should be exactly as the one desired before starting the process That is why Richard Anderson who is in-charge at the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh did not go into celebration or congratulatory mode.

He just mentioned it in a matter-of-fact manner that this was the first time that the process from the oocyte stage had fructified to produce eggs that could be fertilized to produce off-springs.

He was speaking through the Science Media Centre, London when he claimed that complexity of the process was too great and the process of confirming it to be a success would require sustained optimization and repeated successes till the process could be confirmed.

He did acknowledge that this technique through repeated practice may one day be used extensively to treat infertility. It was also pointed out the percentage of mice who grew up like normal mice was quite low.

That means that there were still shortcomings in the whole process that could ensure a higher percentage of normal mice.
• The process started with the development of mature eggs from the stem cells,
• These matured eggs were then fertilized under laboratory conditions
• Then, the fertilized embryos were transplanted into surrogate mice who produced live off-springs.

The trick in the whole process was in employing neutral and juvenile cells that are capable of developing into virtually any type of cells in any organ. The report by the author appeared in Nature, a Science Journal.

These two types of stem cells were obtained as follows:
1. These stem cells were taken directly from the embryos of real mice,
2. Certain cells were taken from the tips of the tails of mice and re-programmed back to the juvenile stage;
under this condition they can be converted to specialist cells.

The scientists then took all the survivors and they were all found to be capable of producing the next generation of off-springs which were perfectly normal.

Umrao Singh

Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson Wednesday, 19 October 2016