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Cell Fusion Paves The Way For Gay Parenting

Reseachers are planning to create the first primate with three parents, paving the way for gay couples to have children who carry both partners' genes.

The reasearch involves creating two embryos and then fusing them to create an individual made up of two types of cell. Such animals are called chimeras. The technique has been widely applied to mice and other species but has never before been tried inprimates.

American reproductive scientists at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Centre believe that such research is necessary because of the medical insights it will give into the way different areas of an embryo develop into parts of the body. Such knowledge would be particularly useful in applying embryonic stem cell therapy, a technology that could offer a cure for killer disease ranging diabetes to Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Gerald Schatten, whose team hopes the first chimeric rhesus monkeys will be born this year, said: "It is technically possible to these techniques to allow two people of the same sex to have a baby carrying both their genes. Lee Silver, professor of genetics at Princeton University, believes that the technique will generate huge demand. Creating babies containing the genetic material of two men would involve obtaining eggs, ideally from the same woman, and fertilising some with sperm from one man and some with sperm from his partner. The resulting embryos would then be treated with chemicals designed to stick them together. The resulting chimera, brought to term in a surrogate mother, would have three parents. Every cell would have half its genes from the mother, but half the remaining genes would be from one man and half from the other..

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