Researchers in China say they’ve bred healthy mice with two mothers using a new type of gene editing technology.
The finding may help researchers better understand mammalian reproduction but it carries significant safety and ethical questions.
A total of 29 bimaternal mice were produced using 210 embryos in the study.
Not all the mice pups survived the experiment. Mice produced from two fathers only survived a couple of days after being born.
According to 9NEWS, Wei Li, one of the study’s co-authors said in a news release, “This research shows us what’s possible.”
"We saw that the defects in bimaternal mice can be eliminated and that bipaternal reproduction barriers in mammals can also be crossed through imprinting modification.”
In the journal Cell Stem Cell Thursday, the scientists conducting the study said they were interested in answering why some reptiles, fish and amphibians can reproduce with one parent of the same sex but others cannot.
The gene were removed by a controversial tool CRISPR Cas9, that experts say has the potential to save countless lives and billions of dollars but has raised serious ethical questions.
The idea of "designer babies" where parents can choose genetic traits is one example, but some have warned that editing individual human genes could affect the gene pool in future generations.
Scientists say that despite the potential of the latest study, the technology isn’t ready for practical application.