Tag Archives | reproduction

A Plan To Have Humans Give Birth To Dolphins And Then Eat Them

Is this what will give your life meaning? In his project I Wanna Deliver A Dolphin, designer Ai Hasegawa envisions solving food shortages, the endangered species crisis, and our urge to reproduce by having us give birth to dolphins via synthetic placentas…and then consume their meat.

The struggle to raise a child in decent conditions is becoming harder due to gross overpopulation and an increasingly strained global environment. Would a woman consider incubating and giving birth to an endangered species such as a shark, tuna or dolphin?

This project imagines a point in the future, where humans will help this species by the advanced technology of synthetic biology. A ‘dolp-human placenta’ that allows a human female to deliver a dolphin is created, and thus humans can become a surrogate mother to endangered species. Furthermore, gourmets would be able to enjoy the luxury of eating a rare animal: an animal made by their own body.

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The Preformationist Explanation Of Reproduction And The Creation Of Life

Preformationism—one of the dominant scientific theories of the 18th century—is the belief that a tiny tree is hidden inside every seed, and a tiny person curled up inside every sperm. Via Wikipedia:

In the history of biology, preformationism (or preformism) is the idea that organisms develop from miniature versions of themselves. Instead of assembly from parts, preformationists believe that the form of living things exist, in real terms, prior to their development. It suggests that all organisms were created at the same time, and that succeeding generations grow from homunculi that have existed since the beginning of creation.

Pythagoras is one of the earliest thinkers credited with ideas about the origin of form in the biological production of offspring. It is said that he originated “spermism”, the doctrine that fathers contribute the essential characteristics of their offspring while mothers contribute only a material substrate.

The groundbreaking scientific insights provided by Galileo and Descartes seemed to support preformationism.

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Chinese Hospitals Introduce Hands-Free Automatic Sperm Extractor

Chinese hospitals are introducing a new machine to extract sperm from donors: The device has a massaging pipe at the front which apparently can be adjusted for speed, frequency and temperature, among other variables, and it can be adjusted to the height of the user. The machine also has a small screen at the top to play movies in order to help with the “extraction process.”

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Fertility Method For Creating Three-Parent Baby May Become Legal

The old conservative canard that “it takes one man and one woman can make a baby” grows ever more out-of-date. The Telegraph reports:

Members of the public are being asked whether families with a genetic risk of incurable conditions like muscular dystrophy should be allowed to use the DNA of a third party to create healthy children. Although the resulting babies would inherit a small fraction of their DNA from the donor and not their mother or father, the procedure would spare all future generations from a host of rare and debilitating conditions.

The technique is currently forbidden as a treatment, but a public consultation launched today will help inform a decision by Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, on whether the clinical benefits outweigh any ethical concerns. Should Mr. Hunt decide to give the treatment the green light the technique could be written into law as early as next year, making Britain the first country in the world to allow human trials.

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Female ‘Sperm Hunter’ Gangs Prey On Men In Zimbabwe

women_2175454bA bizarre new crime wave. Via the Telegraph, in Zimbabwe’s underworld, gangs of women have been kidnapping and raping men traveling alone, for the purpose of harvesting their sperm:

Local media have reported victims of the highway prowlers being drugged, subdued at gun or knife point – even with a live snake in one case – given a sexual stimulant and forced into repeated sex before being dumped on the roadside.

The sperm’s exact use is not clear but is thought to be intended for “juju” or traditional rituals to bring luck – enhancing good fortune, boosting business or preventing a criminal from being detected. It is also not known why the semen is taken forcibly from strangers.

“It’s really an issue which is mind boggling,” said University of Zimbabwe sociologist Watch Ruparanganda, who believes it is a lucrative business. Ruparanganda said he was astonished to discover [the matter] seven years ago, while doing research for his doctoral thesis among Harare street youth.

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‘Three-Parent’ IVF Babies On Their Way

File-Oocyte_granulosa_cells

Oocyte with surrounding granulosa cells.

Jessica Hamzelou writes for New Scientist:

A review of technologies that create three-parent embryos to avoid mitochondrial disease has found no evidence that the methods are unsafe, calling for further research. Medical charities have followed up the report with a call to the UK’s health secretary to prepare to regulate the technology in clinics.

A fertilised egg has 98 per cent of its DNA held in its nucleus. Half of this will be from the mother and half from the father. The remaining 2 per cent is what’s known as mitochondrial DNA – DNA in the cells’ “powerhouses” that are found outside of the egg’s nucleus, and are inherited solely from the mother.

Gene mutations in a woman’s mitochondrial DNA can cause mitochondrial disease in her children. The effects can range from mild, almost symptomless disease to serious and often fatal conditions. Researchers are aiming to avoid these serious conditions using donor eggs with mutation-free mitochondria.

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Spanish Researchers To Tag Human Embryos With Bar Codes

embryos with barcodesThe ostensible reason is to avoid confusion during in vitro fertilization procedures. But just wait until they come up with a reason why all embryos need to be tagged. Fox News reports:

In futuristic movies like “Aliens 2″ and “12 Monkeys,” prisoners are bar coded for easy identification. But today’s reality is even wilder: Scientists have proposed bar-coding embryos.

Researchers from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Spain have just finished testing a method for imprinting microscopic bar codes on mouse embryos — a procedure they plan to test soon on humans. The venture is meant to avoid mismatches during in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer procedures. But privacy experts and children’s rights advocates were instantly concerned by the concept of “direct labeling” of embryos, calling for transparency in the process.

“An embryo is a human life, so we have to move forward with this very, very cautiously,” Pam Dixon, executive director for the World Privacy Forum, told FoxNews.com.

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Scientists Create Artificial Ovary

100914102108Another portion of “the miracle of life” mastered by scientists? Science Daily reports:

Researchers at Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital have invented the first artificial human ovary, an advance that provides a potentially powerful new means for conducting fertility research and could also yield infertility treatments for cancer patients. The team has already used the lab-grown organ to mature human eggs.

“An ovary is composed of three main cell types, and this is the first time that anyone has created a 3-D tissue structure with triple cell line,” said Sandra Carson, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Women & Infants Hospital.

Carson said that the ovary not only provides a living laboratory for investigating fundamental questions about how healthy ovaries work, but also can act as a testbed for seeing how problems, such as exposure to toxins or other chemicals, can disrupt egg maturation and health.

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