A team of British biologists made a fascinating discovery in their experiments involving mice as test subjects. They claim to have produced a baby mouse using only a sperm cell, which challenges the principles of conventional theories of conception.
The scientists who made the discovery are Bath University Biologists. According to reports, they have managed to produce a litter of mice by taking a breakthrough approach to fertilization.
In their journal published at Nature, the researchers stated that the success of the experiment lies within a type of embryo called parthenogenotes. These are egg cells which have been "tricked" into becoming embryos without being fertilized by a sperm.
The parthenogenotes die a few days after, until the scientists started injecting them with mice sperm and transferring the embryos into female mice. The researchers produced 30 healthy mice pups with 24 percent success rate.
"This is the first time that full term development has been achieved by injecting sperm into embryos. It had been thought that only an egg cell was capable of reprogramming sperm to allow embryonic development to take place," Tony Perry, one of the researchers, said.
What they have found out in their research can lead to a potential solution to infertility and animal extinction.
"Our work challenges the dogma, held since early embryologists first observed mammalian eggs around 1827 and observed fertilization 50 years later, that only an egg cell fertilized with a sperm cell can result in a live mammalian birth," he added.
The team will proceed on further research to test out other means to produce motherless babies or babies conceived without egg cells. Perry believes that this discovery has a lot of possibilities and might even lead to skin cells replacing egg cells in the distant future.