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Mouse With No Dad

A gene-edited mouse born from an unfertilized egg has reached adulthood and has had a litter of its own, the Independent reports. It adds that this indicates parthenogenesis is not impossible in mammals, as previously thought.

Genomic imprinting in mammals has largely prevented parthenogenesis, but a trio of researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University has used targeted DNA methylation rewriting aimed at seven imprinting control regions to overcome that hurdle. As they report this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they found altering single unfertilized oocytes in this way could yield mouse pups, though at a low success rate: 227 oocytes were reconstructed, 192 embryos were transferred to foster mothers, and three live pups were born, one of which survived. That surviving mouse, though, later had a litter with a male partner, showing normal reproductive performance.

"It's pretty cool but, it's nothing not to be expected in terms of what we've learned about how reproduction works and the genetic control of reproduction," Louis Lefebvre from the University of British Columbia tells the Daily Beast. "It's a tour de force in some way that [the researchers] really had to work hard in order to get it to work."

The Scan

Cancer Survival Linked to Mutational Burden in Pan-Cancer Analysis

A pan-cancer paper appearing in JCO Precision Oncology suggests tumor mutation patterns provide clues for predicting cancer survival that are independent of other prognostic factors.

Australian Survey Points to Public Support for Genetic Risk Disclosure in Relatives of At-Risk Individuals

A survey in the European Journal of Human Genetics suggests most adult Australians are in favor of finding out if a relative tests positive for a medically actionable genetic variant.

Study Links Evolution of Stony Coral Skeleton to Bicarbonate Transporter Gene

A PNAS paper focuses on a skeleton-related bicarbonate transporter gene introduced to stony coral ancestors by tandem duplication.

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.