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Thursday, February 2, 2017

New fertility procedure may lead to 'embryo farming', warn researchers

Ian Sample
The Guardian
Originally posted January 11, 2017

A new lab procedure that could allow fertility clinics to make sperm and eggs from people’s skin may lead to “embryo farming” on a massive scale and drive parents to have only “ideal” future children, researchers warn.

Legal and medical specialists in the US say that while the procedure – known as in vitro gametogenesis (IVG) – has only been demonstrated in mice so far, the field is progressing so fast that the dramatic impact it could have on society must be planned for now.

“We try not to take a position on these issues except to point out that before too long we may well be facing them, and we might do well to start the conversation now,” said Eli Adashi, professor of medical science at Brown University in Rhode Island.

The creation of sperm and eggs from other tissues has become possible through a flurry of recent advances in which scientists have learned first to reprogram adult cells into a younger, more versatile state, and then to grow them into functioning sex cells. In October, scientists in Japan announced for the first time the birth of baby mice from eggs made with their parent’s skin.

The article is here.
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