New research by Jonathan Tilly and his team has surprised the scientific world by creating new eggs in women. The series of studies has since been published in the March issue of journal Nature Medicine. Until now, it was believed that girls are born with a set number of eggs that reduce, as they grow old. In 2004, Tilly, researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and his team had claimed that they had found stem cells in ovaries of adult female mice and these cells could create new eggs. Stem cells are different from normal cells. These cells have the ability to generate new stem cells that differentiate into various types of cells as needed.
What did Tilly and his team do?
Tilly and his colleagues have proved that young adult women have stem cells in their ovaries that can generate new eggs.
- The research team got some tissues samples from ovaries of young women.
- Cells of the ovarian tissue that were similar to those from the mice were isolated.
- They were observed developing into eggs in culture dishes (in vitro) in the laboratory.
- For the in vivo evidence, the cells were scientifically engineered to glow green for easy identification.
- Then, they were injected back into human ovarian tissue ad transplanted the onto the skin on the backs of mice so as to ensure a continuous supply of blood.
- The stem cells developed into eggs or oocytes and even formed follicles.
Impact of Discovery
The result of the experiments would certainly change the way women’s fertility is perceived. It can open up a plethora of options for women who are infertile due to age, medical treatments etc. Clinical application of the result can revolutionize women’s health and fertility issues as understood today.
The research has not come without its share of flout from the scientific world. While some claim that the results cannot be brought into clinical practice soon, there are others who believe that this could be interfering with nature.
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