Eggs divide without sperm


Welsh researchers may have found yet another way of producing embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos. The process uses an enzyme, PLC-zeta, normally produced by sperm, which prompts the egg to divide. It seems that human eggs treated with PLC-zeta continue dividing to the blastocyst stage. However, since these lack paternal chromosomes, say the scientists, they could not develop into babies. They believe that it could provide an ethically uncontroversial alternative to deriving embryonic stem cells from human embryos. The team from Wales College of Medicine at Cardiff University says that the discovery might also help couples who are unable to have children because the man's sperm has too little of this enzyme.


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