Researchers develop 'virgin conception'

September 10, 2005

Scottish researchers have developed a "virgin conception" -- made not by a fertilized egg but from an egg that had been tricked into dividing.

Dr. Paul de Sousa of Edinburgh University told the British Association meeting in Dublin, Ireland, it took around 300 human eggs to create half a dozen blastocysts -- human embryos that consist of around 50 cells, the Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

They can be used as a source of stem cells that can be grown into all 200 or so types in the body and used for a vast range of treatments.

Attempts to grow stem cells from the blastocysts have not yet succeeded, as they have in non-human primates, but De Sousa said he was confident it was only a matter of time.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Shining light on the pathways that give rise to pluripotent cells in rodents and primates

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