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New Research Shows a Way Gay Couples Could Have Children Using Their Own DNA
Scientists conceptualize a potential avenue of creating an embryo with only male cells.
Remember that Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Junior where he was pregnant? Though it seemed hilarious and over-the-top at the time, scientists are actually close to making such a thing possible, sort of. Researchers at the University of Bath in the UK have opened up the possibility of an embryo using only male cells. Working with mice, they made a pseudo-embryo called a “parthenogenote.” This was an embryo created without sperm. The feat is performed by fooling an egg cell into thinking it’s been fertilized. Usually, a parthenogenote dies off after a few days. But here, scientists were able to fertilize them with a sperm cell, and inject each embryo into a female mouse.
30 healthy pups were born this way. An egg cell was used in each case. Through these experiments, researchers hypothesized that since the parthenogenote operated much like a skin cell, perhaps such a cell could be used, bypassing the egg altogether. If perfected, such a method could revolutionize fertility science, producing healthy humans without resorting to cloning, in a way that would be relatively easy and safe.
Scientists believe they have a way of creating an embryo with a skin cell serving as an egg.
Though colleagues have called the idea “speculative and fanciful,” they haven’t ruled the idea out. This would be a huge windfall for the gay community, as gay men could have children with their own genes, cutting out adoption or a surrogate. Another place where it could help is with couples where a woman’s fertility has been damaged beyond repair, say from a serious trauma, an operation where the ovaries were removed, or through cancer therapy such as chemo. Today, banking one’s eggs is an option. But outside of that there are few.
On another front, it could also help in zoology and preservation. Need to bring back a species, and only have a few males around? Collect some sperm and a few skin cells, and that creature is back in business. Lead scientist Tony Perry said that this breakthrough challenges the notion, held since the 19th century, that only an egg cell fertilized by sperm could produce mammalian offspring.
Still, this study only offers a proof-of-concept. Far more research would have to be done before we would see if this technique could actually yield healthy, human offspring. The method was said to have a 24% success rate, as it stands now. With cloning, it’s only one to two percent. So not only does it bypass the fears associated with human cloning, it might get a lot better results. The technique should also work with other kinds of cells. But more experiments will be needed to know for sure.
This could be a huge breakthrough for the gay male community. Couples could have children with only their genes.
Not all the talk surrounding this breakthrough was positive. Fertility pioneer and specialist Neeta Gerund had some misgivings. In the British newspaper The Telegraph she wrote that, although impressed with the science, she was upset about how the breakthrough was framed. The media portrayed it as a new development in the “battle of the sexes.” Instead of war, she called for unity. After all, isn’t fertility medicine about building families? She also cleverly asked who would gestate the developing embryo, if not a woman?
Though it could reignite the hope for some couples to have children, results from this breakthrough remains far off in the future, according to both Gerund and Perry. Gerund says that how such an embryo is impacted by environmental factors, such as diet and smoking, will take years to discern, alone. For a while at least, children will continue to be made the old fashion way, with a little boost from fertility science for those who need it.
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Many of the most popular apps are about self-improvement.
Emotions are the newest hot commodity, and we can't get enough.
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.