Print 35 comment(s) - last by Starcub.. on Dec 15 at 10:47 AM

Scientists have created mice with two fathers. A surrogate mother is required, but her DNA isn't passed to the selected offspring..  (Source: Science Museum)
The laws of nature are being seriously bent by this Texas team

Two male mammals can not reproduce with each other, right?  That's what you learned in your biology class, certainly.  Well turns out, like many laws of nature, there can be exceptions, with a certain amount of trickery.  Researchers at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas have bent the rules of mammalian biology and created a pair of mice, one male one female, that have two fathers and no maternal sex chromosomes.

The MDACC team of reproductive biologists, led by Dr. Richard R. Berhringer first took fibroblasts (connective tissue cells) from the first male (XY) father mouse, when he was just a fetus.  The fibroblasts were selected as they are easy to induce into pluripotency, a method of producing non-embryonic stem cells.  The induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) were then cultured. 

During the culturing something funny happened -- the Y allele disappeared in some of the cells.  This proved a critical step in producing two-father babies.  The XO cells were then transplanted into the blastocyst (developing embryo) of a mouse surrogate mother.  The resulting female chimera children (a second surrogate mother), which had a mix of XO/XX sex chromosomes.  The females (which bore the paternal chromesome from the first father) were then mated with the second father.

The end result of this rather confusing process was that some of the children had sex chromosomes from both fathers, or both mothers.  They also likely inherited autosomes from each father.

The team proclaims, "Our study exploits iPS cell technologies to combine the alleles from two males to generate male and female progeny, i.e. a new form of mammalian reproduction."

The researchers speculate that they could also use the technique to get the mouse to self reproduce.  They state, "It is also possible that one male could produce both oocytes and sperm for self-fertilization to generate male and female progeny."

The team published the work in the journal Biology of Reproduction.

They say that it could be leveraged to save endangered species.  If only two males were in captivity, a surrogate mother of a similar species could be used to birth a Chimera which would produce oocytes (eggs) from the first father, resulting in two fathers being able to pass their genetic legacy on to offspring.

Applications may also lie in livestock breeding.  Typically livestock are selected for favorable characteristics.  But what if two males both have certain very favorable genetic traits?  This technique could allow those strengths to be merged.

Last, but not least, the team's most controversial suggestion is that using a varied iPS technique, human oocytes (eggs) could be produced from a father's cells.  This could lead to two men being able to synthetically reproduce, certainly a controversial technology.  The only question left is whether two females could be made to reproduce as well?  We'll have to wait and see for future studies on that topic.

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Putting my head on the chopping block
By lainofthewired on 12/9/2010 12:06:02 PM , Rating: 3
If my high school biology still applies (class of '97 :D ), I would assume two females could not create a male child. So if this were ever moved onto humans, a lesbian couple could only have girls, but a male gay couple could have both.

Genetics is not something I keep up with ;)

RE: Putting my head on the chopping block
By Spivonious on 12/9/2010 12:09:55 PM , Rating: 4
Yep, XX+XX = XX. XY+XY = XX, XY, or YY.

What would a YY be, I wonder?

By The Imir of Groofunkistan on 12/9/2010 12:12:36 PM , Rating: 1
not viable - except it can't happen - the female always contributes X so

X + (X or Y) is the real equation

RE: Putting my head on the chopping block
By Noriaki on 12/9/2010 1:12:11 PM , Rating: 2
That's not untrue, but isn't the point here that they are two fathers, so both have a Y to contribute?

RE: Putting my head on the chopping block
By MozeeToby on 12/9/2010 1:18:04 PM , Rating: 4
The X chromosome carries many, many genes that are essential to making a viable human being. The Y chromosome basically carries encodings for sperm and extra encodings for testosterone, not much else. A fertilized egg with two Y chromosomes and no X chromosomes would lack several proteins essential for development, so it's kind of a moot point.

By Samus on 12/9/2010 4:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
You'd be missing a few chromosomes if you were missing X. It wouldn't be a complete human and most of our DNA relies on X.

By geddarkstorm on 12/9/2010 4:45:37 PM , Rating: 2
One X came from a father, the Y came from the other father (and the other X for the female offspring came from the other father).

RE: Putting my head on the chopping block
By quiksilvr on 12/9/2010 12:21:19 PM , Rating: 5
Chuck Norris.

RE: Putting my head on the chopping block
By marsbound2024 on 12/9/2010 3:34:05 PM , Rating: 3
In other news, a mouse in Houston is apparently the sole survivor after hundreds of its kin were apparently "roundhouse-kicked in the face" and died instantly. It's not known if the surviving mouse is the perpetrator. Though, the mouse was seen later doing push-ups."

By Thorsen on 12/9/2010 4:18:50 PM , Rating: 5
Chuck Norris doesn't do push-ups. He pushes the Earth down...

By Pirks on 12/9/2010 7:18:49 PM , Rating: 2

By Spivonious on 12/10/2010 10:11:36 AM , Rating: 2
Post of the day.

By DarkElfa on 12/10/2010 12:14:54 PM , Rating: 2
"What would a YY be?"

Extremely curious?

By AnnihilatorX on 12/12/2010 1:43:15 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed. Better be careful if feminists are to take over the world.

By rburnham on 12/13/2010 4:33:37 PM , Rating: 2
We know this to already be true. I saw it on Modern Family.

Not ready for Star Trek yet
By genedude on 12/9/2010 5:37:04 PM , Rating: 2
“A surrogate mother is required, but her DNA isn't passed to the selected offspring"--not exactly true, plus DNA isn’t everything. The baby would inherit mitochondrial DNA and imprinting from the surrogate mother. The imprinting depends upon the mother’s environment—for example, undernourished mothers produce offspring with higher rates of obesity/diabetes, since the fetuses are programmed to conserve energy.

The extension of this idea to humans is a huge leap of faith. Mice with behavioral or genetic problems aren’t that hard to deal with, but humans with these issues are. Taking DNA from one father, subtracting a Y and adding an X to a single cell, putting it in a surrogate, then fertilizing the cells would be tremendously expensive and complicated with huge risks. The couple would be better off paying for one child from each father with a donated egg than to produce a super expensive hybrid child with huge medical bills.

RE: Not ready for Star Trek yet
By tmouse on 12/10/2010 8:41:32 AM , Rating: 5
It is also worth noting the middle step. To accomplish this, a chimera is produced having variable percentage of the first father’s cells. Now it also has to be a germline chimera. This chimera has to be born and raised to be old enough to have children (what do you do with the chimeras when your done using them as a womb for rent?), and even then only some of the children will have the first father’s genome. To say this is ethical, economical or even chronologically acceptable in humans is stretching things a bit to say the least.

Unfortunately this is the current state of science. The discovery is scientifically minimal at best (hence the journal it was published in). More and more institutes are hiring Madison Avenue spin doctors as deans of communication and such to produce press releases with statements that (hopefully) no real scientists would ever seriously suggest. It draws press attention and hopefully peaks interest for financial donations. The down side it stretches scientific creditability and some “promises” will ultimately lead to public disillusionment with science when they cannot be fulfilled.

RE: Not ready for Star Trek yet
By rika13 on 12/10/2010 3:47:23 PM , Rating: 3
that thing of sci-fi super-human farms would make a "mother" irrelevant, and reduce women to simply being around for sex and sandwiches


Picture next to title...
By stirfry213 on 12/9/2010 12:15:26 PM , Rating: 3
This has got to be the best combination of an article title and picture I have seen on this site to day. Funny though... no one else in my office got it, LOL.

RE: Picture next to title...
By Omega215D on 12/9/2010 12:39:34 PM , Rating: 4
Ambiguously Gay Duo was one of the funniest things I've seen from SNL. Ace and Gary... classic.

RE: Picture next to title...
By Souka on 12/9/10, Rating: 0
RE: Picture next to title...
By farquaid on 12/10/2010 1:18:37 AM , Rating: 2
I get an image in my head of a very happy pregnant Arnold Schwarzenegger or maybe two very happy pregnant Arnold Schwarzeneggers.

By The Imir of Groofunkistan on 12/9/2010 12:14:44 PM , Rating: 4 thanks

By theapparition on 12/9/2010 12:28:02 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the only way that college tuition could be paid for in twenty years. Have two fathers paying child support.

RE: College
By Lord 666 on 12/9/2010 1:36:24 PM , Rating: 2
Feel bad for the young lad who starts dating the daughter of a dual dad. Good cop/bad cop to the extreme.

PS - Thats assuming the daughter is into men. Guess either way is double shotgun potential.

What's with the controversy?
By wordsworm on 12/10/2010 5:17:40 AM , Rating: 1
This is nothing new to the Bible. As those of you who may have read the thing might recall that the mythology states that God made Eve from Adam's rib. While this science has no plans of using Adam and Steve's rib, I can't really see this as so far from what God has already done.

And, if God cannot do evil, then how can we call it a sin for a man to attempt to follow in those footsteps?

Anyways, fun article.

RE: What's with the controversy?
By Negronpope on 12/12/2010 2:23:09 PM , Rating: 1
Isiah 45:7 NIV

"I form the light and create darkness,

I bring prosperity and create disaster;

I, the Lord, do all these things."

So God can't do evil? God created everything, which obviously means he CREATED evil. "I bring prosperity and I create disaster", what does that state?
Obviously, you don't think disaster is evil.

RE: What's with the controversy?
By Starcub on 12/15/2010 10:47:06 AM , Rating: 2
God could do evil, but then he wouldn't be God. Also remember that on the 7th day God looked at all that he had created and called it good. The Creation of disaster (for evil) is in fact good. However, looking at the world as it is, one could make a strong case that God is no longer in the business of doing that.

The ultimate aim of this research seems to be the removal of the need for any partner in order to reproduce (for males at least), effectively making it like cloning. The church has already come out against cloning, and likely won't support any form of reproduction that attempts to remove either men or women from the equation even if the promoted aims seem reasonable.

Personally, I hope this research isn't receiving govt funding since its aims don't appear to be worthwhile in my opinion.

What's wrong
By RugMuch on 12/9/2010 3:01:32 PM , Rating: 2
What's wrong? I have two daddies.

RE: What's wrong
By banthracis on 12/9/2010 4:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
But they're not both biological dads.

RE: What's wrong
By rudy on 12/9/10, Rating: -1
By kattanna on 12/9/2010 12:19:58 PM , Rating: 2
The females (which bore the paternal chromesome from the first father) were then mated with the second father

i wouldnt have figured that happening in texas...

west virginia or kentucky.. sure

By kyleb2112 on 12/9/2010 8:57:03 PM , Rating: 2
Of course their ultimate goal is a four-assed monkey.

Frankensteins monsters
By Peter898 on 12/11/2010 1:37:54 PM , Rating: 2
Dr. Frankenstein and his monsters strike again ...

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