The creation of an artificial human egg from an adult cell could be possible within five years, say researchers who have taken a step towards the goal.
At the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s annual conference in Madrid, Peter Nagy from Reproductive Biology Associates in Atlanta spoke of his collaboration with University of Connecticut researchers to create an artificial human egg through haploidisation.
Haploidisation is the process of creating a haploid cell from a diploid cell.
Diploid cells have two copies of each chromosome, one from each parent. Haploid cells have one copy of each chromosome. During reproduction, haploid cells from each parent merge to form a diploid cell, the zygote.
Haploidization is not cloning because it doesn’t create a genetic replica. Rather, it is the production of a reconstituted egg that can be fertilized by sperm in a case where a woman has no eggs of her own.
The procedure involves the donation of a woman’s own somatic cells, from which the chromosome-carrying nucleus is removed and transferred into a donated, “shelled out” oocyte.
Nagy says that former approaches to haploidisation using a fully mature oocyte and a somatic cell had caused misaligned chromosomes during cell division, but he is confident that his new technique will soon overcome these problems.