Magazine article Science News

Two Egg Cells Make Fatherless Mouse

Magazine article Science News

Two Egg Cells Make Fatherless Mouse

Article excerpt

Is it time to start buying Mother's Day cards in bulk? Japanese researchers have created a mouse that has two mothers but no father. Don't expect to see the option offered at fertility clinics anytime soon, however. The experiment had a very low success rate.

In many animals, including some lizards and insects, a female's egg can develop into a normal embryo without being fertilized by sperm, a process called parthenogenesis. In mammals, such embryos typically die a week or two into gestation, indicating that it takes the union of sperm and egg to produce a healthy offspring.

A phenomenon called imprinting may offer an explanation for this usual requirement. While a mammalian embryo inherits similar sets of genes from its mom and dad, certain genes are imprinted. That is, only the mother's or the father's version of the gene becomes operative (SN: 5/15/99, p. 312). As a result, it appears that mammalian embryos need genes from both a male and female parent. …

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