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lab mouse sitting in a gloved hand

A team of researchers have successfully raised a mouse into adulthood that was produced from a single unfertilized egg. 

This method of asexual reproduction called parthenogenisis occurs naturally in several animal species, including some sharks, lizards and birds. It results in offspring containing either half or all of their mother’s genetic material, but does not require any genetic contribution from a male sex cell. It was previously thought to be impossible in mammals, per New Scientist’s Alex Wilkins.  

“The success of parthenogenesis in mammals opens many opportunities in agriculture, research, and medicine,” write the authors in their study, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Further identification and editing of additional ICRs [imprinting control regions] might improve the efficiency of parthenogenetic development.”

Prior research to force mammals to reproduce via parthenogenesis have failed because of genomic imprinting, per a statement. In normal sexual reproduction, offspring receive two copies of a gene, one from each parent. But genomic imprinting means that certain genes are chemically tagged to indicate which parent they came... see more