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In Vitro Production of Germ Cells, Ethics of

Since the 1960s, scientists have been mystified and intrigued by a unique type of cell, namely, the stem cell. Especially within the last decade, stem cell research has expanded many scientific fields including that of developmental biology. Specifically, the contributions of molecular biologists Katsuhiko Hayashi and Mitinori Saitou have generated new possibilities for the use of stem cells in regard to infertility. Hayashi developed a procedure for the conversion of mouse skin cells in vitro into primordial germ cells (PGCs). Additionally, Hayashi and Saitou collectively discovered a method for converting embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into PGCs. PGCs can differentiate into either a sperm cell or an egg cell. Thus, artificially produced PGCs can be coaxed into differentiating into egg cells and sperm cells to be ...

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