Fetus Has Two Mommies


So, a few years back, I saw a short film by Xavier Domingo—a family friend who'd given up medicine for acting, much of it in weird little arthouse films—called Amazons. Xavier played a series of characters (a scientist in a lab coat, a dude, a wealthy housewife, a mime) who, in a series of interconnected monologues, discuss the looming superfluity of men, thanks to the possibility of using genetic technology to crossfertilize two ova, producing (obviously) invariably female offspring.

Well, we're not quite there yet, but the BBC is reporting on a British experiment involving the transplantation of old-fashioned sperm/egg genetic material into a new ova, which scientists hope could avoid illnesses transmitted through mitochondrial DNA.

NEXT: "Frustrating" Is One Word...

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  1. which mommy gets the absolute moral authority to choose?

  2. I'm filing this in the "Stupid Genetics Tricks" folder. As super-neato-science cool as this all sounds, the female anatomy isn't really designed to accomdate this method of reproduction without some rather complex and expensive techniques and apparatus. Wouldn't it be easier, cheaper, and more fun to have babies the old fashioned way?

    Of course, if the mommies want to try it... Hey! It's their ova and their money. However, I wouldn't rule out the penis and the males they are attached to just yet.

  3. I agree, Akira. And there are plenty of women out there who still enjoy making babies the old fashioned way.

    I don't see us males being obsolete just yet, thank god! 🙂

  4. Generally, I favor every medical advance that comes along. Overall, my attitude is "screw nature," but I have to admit there are some things about cloning for reproduction which kinda freak me out. If, for instance, I were to clone myself, my son would not actually be my son, he would be my identical twin brother (only 35 years younger). And who would be liable for his upkeep, me or my father? (My father would be his father, too!) Now, if females can reproduce without men, it won't be long before men can do the same. Will we one day separate into two species? Just a little creepy.

    But I'll bet it's going to be fun!

  5. ... and if only we can experience the sweaty pillow fight scene (pg. 69 original ed. "Heather Has Two Mommies).

    or something like that.

    what was this post about? i simply reacted to the AWESOME heading.

  6. Note that the putative child in this case has two mothers _and a father_. Not just two mothers. Daddy supplies half the nuclear DNA, mummy 1 supplies the other half (as traditional) and then mummy 2 supplies the mitochondrial DNA.
    So this is not a case of reproducing without men, just before everyone gets too excited.
    It's not a 'stupid genetic trick', it's more analogous to an organ transplant that happens really early on. (i.e. at the zygote stage), and a very neat way of getting past nasty inherited disorders. But, since the child would carry mDNA from both its mothers (faulty mDNA from mummy 1 and healthy mDNA from mummy 2) its children (if it were a daughter) would still be at risk of the same disorder.
    Confusingly, on the same day the BBC carries news of the creation of human parthenotes - ova stimulated to start dividing without fertilisation. The child here would be a haploid woman.

  7. When your drill instructor taught you, "This is your rifle; this is your gun. This is for fighting; this is for fun," note he didn't put a codicil in there about your gun being for procreating.

  8. Women will still need men to take out the trash.

  9. Modern biology is so damn yicky.

  10. Cool. And then men could construct an artificial womb where babies could gestate from inception to birth. They would need some eggs to start with; after that they could just harvest eggs from female fetuses. They would of course only allow male babies to come to term.

    Then we COULD seperate into two seperate species.

    I sense a cool mini-series for the SciFi channel coming on...

  11. Women will still need men to take out the trash.

    And to change the oil.

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