Wednesday, April 21, 2010

There's nothing wrong with a little curiosity.

So I was watching the Ellen Degeneres Show this morning (I think it is so hilarious that it is actually the only "big kid" tv show I watch while watching De) and Lisa Kudrow, from "Who Do You Think You Are?" was on telling Ellen about her geneology. Lisa found a physical description of Ellen's great-grandfather, and Ellen reportedly looks a lot like him.

That got me thinking about genetics, breeding, and the fact that, since Ellen is civil union-ized to fellow female Portia DeRossi, she probably won't have biological children to pass on those same blue eyes and blonde hair features to.

Homosexual couples have been known to have biological children from sperm or eggs supplied by one partner, so I guess she and Portia could have a baby with the same blonde hair and blue eyes since they both posses them, but not Ellen's sense of humor, as well, because I just don't see her wanting to be the one to be pregnant. But what if Ellen really wanted "her baby" to have the same features and also her humor without carrying it? Thus, the question...

Would science ever advance enough to be able to alter a female egg to fertilize another female egg, or vice versa?

I texted this puzzling question to a good cross-section of friends and relatives and here is what YOU think:
"No." -Brett, Stay-at-home mother of 4, er, 3.

"I highly doubt it because of the complexity of it. They could just take turns being pregnant by going through a sperm clinic, though. LoL." -Jason, Technology Expert

"Random that you say that because I just read in Time Magazine that scientists just genetically engineered sperm. I think that will be the next step they try." -Marie, PA student

"Maybe? They can make a baby with two moms and a dad now by switching the mitochondria." -Becky, UC Boulder graduating Senior

"Never. Impossible. Wrong genetic info. They could implant it, but an egg is an egg." -Noah, science teacher.

Confused by the split in educated opinions and intrigued by my own wonderings, I did some research of my own.

The Answer: IT'S POSSIBLE.

According to this article, parthenogensis (reproduction without fertilization) already occurs in some plant and insect species, and mice pups in Japan have been successful reproduced in fertilization labs using this experimental process. It does not occur naturally in mammals, however, but, like so many other unnatural processes, is possible with the help of a trained scientist (do not attempt this at home!). So far it has only worked for the mice after 460 tries, and of the successfully reproduced pups only one reached adulthood.

So it is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar in the future for humans, but still possible.

Ever heard of the book Brave New World by Aldus Huxley? Its all about scientifically producing the entire human speicies based on specific characteristics and social classes without "typical" fertilization. These test-tube-semi-natural-robot children freaked me out in 10th grade, and it freaks me out today.

This is so strange... But you never know something until you get one random thought in your head and research it.

But that's just how Susannah "C's" it.

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