Fertile live mice grown from skin cells

September 12th, 2009  | Published in Technology

Chinese researchers have created fertile live mouse pups by reprogramming skin cells into powerful stem cells.

Dr Fanyi Zeng of the Shanghai Institute of Medical Genetics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and colleagues, report their findings online ahead of print publication in the journal Nature.

The researchers created whole mice using induced pluripotent skin cells, or  iPS cells, which were reprogrammed to look and act like embryonic stem cells.

The mice went on to have babies, the first of which has been called Xiao Xiao, or Tiny, say the researchers.

Their experiment means that it is theoretically possible to clone someone using skin cells, but the experts have been quick to distance themselves from such controversy.

“We are confident that tremendous good can come from demonstrating the versatility of reprogrammed cells in mice, and this research will be used to.” says Zeng.

“This gives us hope for future therapeutic interventions, using the patient’s own reprogrammed cells in the far future,” she says.

“It would not be ethical to attempt to use iPS cells in human reproduction. It is important for science to have ethical boundaries…[the study was] in no way meant as a first step in that direction.”


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