Process successfully used on mice

Professor Katsuhiko Hayashi led the team that used in-vitro gametogenesis to create viable eggs from the skin cells of adult female mice, which then gave birth to healthy offspring (above, right).
Professor Katsuhiko Hayashi led the team that used in-vitro gametogenesis to create viable eggs from the skin cells of adult female mice, which then gave birth to healthy offspring.PHOTO: NYTIMES
Professor Katsuhiko Hayashi led the team that used in-vitro gametogenesis to create viable eggs from the skin cells of adult female mice, which then gave birth to healthy offspring (above, right).
Professor Katsuhiko Hayashi led the team that used in-vitro gametogenesis to create viable eggs from the skin cells of adult female mice, which then gave birth to healthy offspring (above).PHOTO: NYTIMES

LONDON • Last year, researchers in Japan, led by Professor Katsuhiko Hayashi, used the technique known as in-vitro gametogenesis, or IVG, to create viable eggs from the skin cells of adult female mice, which then gave birth to healthy babies.

It was the first creation of eggs entirely outside a mouse, the Nature science journal reported. If the process could be replicated in humans, artificial eggs could be produced without the need to implant immature cells into ovaries to complete their development.

Prof Hayashi, a reproductive biologist at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, said the process is technically challenging but robust, and that different groups in his laboratory have reproduced it.

But he is not trying to make viable human eggs, as Japanese laws forbid the fertilisation of engineered human germ cells, even for research purposes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2017, with the headline 'Process successfully used on mice'. Print Edition | Subscribe