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Biotechnology

IVF moonshot takes next step toward making human eggs from skin

September 21, 2018

Japanese scientists just took a new step toward a “game changing” way to make babies from skin cells.

The news: The Japanese team reports in the journal Science that they’re closer than ever. The team, led by Mitinori Saitou and colleagues from Kyoto University, turned skin collected from female volunteers into primitive precursors of egg cells.

They still don’t have eggs. But they’re closer. It’s just “a matter of time,” Eli Adashi of Brown University told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: There is a global scientific race to manufacture eggs and sperm in the lab, starting from an ordinary cell, like skin. In theory, lab-made reproductive cells could put an end to infertility for people including cancer patients and women in their 40s and 50s.

Want to learn more? Check out our 2017 feature “A new way to reproduce,” about the work in Japan and elsewhere.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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