A research group from IVI Foundation, led by Dr. Carlos Simón and the Department of Stem Cells at Stanford University, seeks to obtain gametes (eggs and sperm) directly from skin cells.
Journal “Scientific Reports” published today the article titled “Human somatic cells subjected to genetic induction with six germ line-related factors display meiotic germ cell-like features”. By direct cell reprogramming, skin cells are taken, enhanced with a specific cocktail of genes and transformed, to show genetic and epigenetic markers characteristic of reproductive cells themselves.
This technique hopes to be the solution for many couples who struggle to produce viable sperm and eggs. The only current solution for these couples is the donation of gametes. Thanks to this new discovery, those couples could gestate their own biological child.
“Although this study is only an initial step in humans, its application in mice has already revealed successful results. The ultimate aim of the research is to take skin cells and to manipulate them genetically so that a person who does not have their own gametes can attain these and can have children whose genetic make-up matches their own,” explained Dr. Carlos Simon, CSO of IVI Foundation and IGENOMIX
Jose V. Medrano, Ana M. Martínez-Arroyo, Jose M. Míguez, Inmaculada Moreno, Sebastián Martínez, Alicia Quiñonero, Patricia Díaz-Gimeno, Ana I. Marqués-Marí, Antonio Pellicer, Jose Remohí & Carlos Simón. ‘Human somatic cells subjected to genetic induction with six germ line-related factors display meiotic germ cell-like features’. Scientific Reports 6:24956 | DOI: 10.1038/srep24956