This was quite a year for reproductive and genetic technologies, and many of the biggest stories will certainly have sequels. Among the most significant topics were:
- Artificial gametes and cloning
- Inheritable genetic modification
- Prenatal, newborn and other genetic testing
- The fertility industry
- Commercial surrogacy
- Egg “donation” / egg freezing
- Eugenics as policy
- Forensic DNA / DNA databases
- Stem cells: therapies and scandals
- Synthetic biology and the bioeconomy
Artificial gametes and cloning
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka, for cloning a frog and discovering how to reprogram adult cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, respectively. Scientists are still expanding on these breakthroughs.
Mitinori Saitou and colleagues in Kyoto created mice by using sperm and eggs grown from iPS cells, though supplied ovaries were also needed, at least for the time being. This sparked immediate speculation about human applications, as did an earlier Chinese technique of generating sperm. In Korea, there was a push to remove restrictions on human research cloning, and eventually reproductive cloning. Korean animal cloning also garnered...