Last week, Japanese researchers created a fatherless mouse using only female eggs, and turned the reproduction world on its head. The word on the street was men’s role in baby making might one day be obsolete.
Fatherless offspring were previously considered impossible for mammals. And while reproduction experts have something new to think about, so do stem cell scientists. The technology used to create the “virgin birth” might engender better techniques for obtaining stem cells.
But just because the Japanese mouse was created using a technique previously considered infeasible in mammals doesn’t mean it escapes President Bush’s stem cell policy. Researchers are not allowed to use federal funds to destroy or work with stem cells obtained through this method, called parthenogenesis, which is Greek for “virgin birth.”