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Two mommies are better than one

Japanese researchers have found that female mice made from the DNA of two egg cells (bi-maternal or BM) have significantly longer lifespans than female mice made the “normal” way – from the DNA of an egg and a sperm. They think this is due to Rasgrf1, a imprinted gene on chromosome 9 of the father. BM females were also significantly smaller and lighter, which makes sense when you think of sex-specific selection. Males have increased fitness if they spend more energy growing bigger quickly because that will increase their number of mates. Females, however, get no benefit in growing bigger, since they’ll probably have the same number of mates no matter what. Losing paternally inherited genes dealing with this growth means they conserve energy and can live longer.

… *ahem*

SCIENCE IS SO FREAKING COOL!

Seriously, can you believe that we’re doing research like this? I actually remember asking a biology teacher in high school why we can’t just combine DNA from two eggs or two sperm and get a viable organism. They said it was impossible because of genetic imprinting – you need a set genes imprinted from mom, and a set imprinted from dad. But now we have the power to manipulate imprinted genes and do what we thought to be impossible just a few years ago. How cool is that?

And on top of that, I have to wonder what this means for gay couples. Obviously there’s a huge step between animal research and human research, but wouldn’t this be awesome for lesbian couples who could afford it? Not only do you actually get a daughter who is a genetic blend of both of her parents, just like any other child, but they may even have an extended lifetime? Awesome! I guess that would take away one of the ridiculous arguments fundies like to use – that you shouldn’t allow gay marriage because they can’t produce children. Ha, TAKE THAT FUNDIES! SCIENCE!

Comments

  1. says

    There is a benefit for larger size in females: being able to bear more young at a younger age. But you’re right; it’s a slightly different balance of selection factors than for males.Thanks for the news summary though – I’d seen the headline but haven’t read the article yet!

  2. says

    There is a benefit for larger size in females: being able to bear more young at a younger age. But you're right; it's a slightly different balance of selection factors than for males.

    Thanks for the news summary though – I'd seen the headline but haven't read the article yet!

  3. says

    It’s about time we get to work on this.If we’re ever to be a spacefaring race, we really need to get rid of these damn, unproductive males. Wastes of space.

  4. says

    It's about time we get to work on this.

    If we're ever to be a spacefaring race, we really need to get rid of these damn, unproductive males. Wastes of space.

  5. Anonymous says

    Oh hey now, I resemble that comment.It’s great to see the techniques for producing Bi-maternal offspring are advancing though.

  6. Anonymous says

    Oh hey now, I resemble that comment.

    It's great to see the techniques for producing Bi-maternal offspring are advancing though.

  7. says

    Science rocks. Such an interesting thing. I know so little of biology but I love getting excited when people are getting excited. It’s the sign of someone who’s passionate about the subject. Thanks for sharing, Jen!

  8. says

    Science rocks. Such an interesting thing. I know so little of biology but I love getting excited when people are getting excited. It's the sign of someone who's passionate about the subject. Thanks for sharing, Jen!

  9. says

    This is incredibly good news for gay couples, and think of the legal ramifications — before, with the issue of having to deal with donor sperm, and in the future — not so much! I don’t want to be completely anti-man here, but … let’s take a moment to consider what a world of women would be like, without all the macho battles and posturing. I’m sure there are loads of reasons why it would be bad, but think about it. If you have far, far less aggression, you lose the need to have so many warriors. I know there are aggressive women but … on average … Sorry to babble so, this is just awesome news :)

  10. says

    This is incredibly good news for gay couples, and think of the legal ramifications — before, with the issue of having to deal with donor sperm, and in the future — not so much!

    I don't want to be completely anti-man here, but … let's take a moment to consider what a world of women would be like, without all the macho battles and posturing. I'm sure there are loads of reasons why it would be bad, but think about it. If you have far, far less aggression, you lose the need to have so many warriors. I know there are aggressive women but … on average …

    Sorry to babble so, this is just awesome news :)

  11. says

    It may not be the case that being BM is directly impacting longevity. Larger mice tend to have shorter lifespans regardless of how many mommies they have, and they’ve identified many mutations that result in dwarfism that also extend lifespan. And yes, Science RULZ.

  12. says

    It may not be the case that being BM is directly impacting longevity. Larger mice tend to have shorter lifespans regardless of how many mommies they have, and they've identified many mutations that result in dwarfism that also extend lifespan.

    And yes, Science RULZ.

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