The breakthrough achieved in the study shows that fully “manufactured” babies can be created from the skin cells of two adults of the same gender.
Reported in the journal Cell, researchers paired stem cell lines from embryos with the skin of five different adults. The experiment had been previously successful in creating live baby mice but this is the first study on humans in which engineered cells were compared to aborted fetuses to determine an identical match.
Azim Surani, Wellcome Trust project leader and professor of physiology and reproduction at Cambridge, said, “We have succeeded in the first and most important step of this process, which is to show we can make these very early human stem cells in a dish."
Although concerns regarding ethical issues have been raised, Jacob Hanna, the specialist leading the project’s Israeli arm, said the study “has already caused interest from gay groups because of the possibility of making egg and sperm cells from parents of the same sex.”