Researchers and scientists have accomplished something now that could vastly change the way the future years are looked at through the eyes of reproduction. As it turns out, their findings, which will be published in the journal Cell, used embryonic stem cells to create an egg and sperm. More specifically, the scientists have developed cells that will eventually turn into eggs and sperm. This marked the first time that scientists had ever done this successfully with human cells. Previously, teams and researchers had successfully managed to perform this with rat cells, but this marked the first – and only occasion to date where human cells were actually perfected to that degree.
The cells that the scientists created are considered primordial germ cells. Naoko Irie of the University of Cambridge, where the study took place, pointed out that “The creation of primordial germ cells is one of the earliest events during early mammalian development. It’s a stage we’ve managed to recreate using stems cells from mice and rats, but until now few researchers have done this systematically using human stem cells. It has highlighted important differences between embryo development in humans and rodents that may mean findings in mice and rats may not be directly extrapolated to humans.”
Stem cells are cells in the human body that are genetically wired to develop into anything that the body ultimately needs. It’s similar to a human reserve of cellular power, should any issues arise. While scientists have only recently began tapping into and understanding the strength that these cells have in this type of application, the possibility has been there for years. That being said, the process and findings also revealed that the same thing could be done with adult skin cells.
However, no one should think that human skin cells will be replacing actual stem cells in the near future for this type of process. Moving forward scientists are satisfied with the findings to this point, and now will do more aggressive research on the human genetics, and even various cancers to learn more about how this type of application could work to prevent, stop, or even reverse the course that serious illnesses like cancer have done. An interesting find for the researchers is the changes that they’re seeing in the environmental impacts on genes, and how they evolve over the years due to those environmental factors.
Scientists note that they can see how the environment is impacting Earth, and more specifically, the human race, by how the genes are changing and evolving over a greater period of time.