October 5, 2012 2:42 pm
News broke Thursday that researchers in Japan have, for the first time, created eggs from stem cells in a mammal and then bred healthy mice offspring from those eggs. The internet took heed, and scientists, too, were ruffled by the magnitude of the discovery, as evidenced by a collection of uncharacteristically colorful reactions:
“This is quite a startling feat.” (Wall Street Journal)
“They’ve gotten to what was our Holy Grail, which is making eggs. It’s like cellular alchemy. I mean, they can turn lead into gold here. They can turn skin cells or blood cells into eggs.” (NPR)
“This paper produces something that looks like oocytes, smells like oocytes and tastes like oocytes in a way no one has done before.” (Science News)
“It was always believed that making sperm was probably easier.” (Nature)
“Wow. That’s my general reaction.” (NPR)
“When you think about the commercial possibilities of people selling to infertile people babies produced from George Clooney or Jennifer Aniston, or whatever, you have to worry about it.” (NPR)
“If you took the stem cells from the same individual you could avoid sexual reproduction.” (New Scientist)
Golden babies born from George Clooney’s stem cells are still a ways off, of course. But mice cells are similar enough to human cells that one day, it might really be possible.
More from Smithsonian.com:
Sign up for our free email newsletter and receive the best stories from Smithsonian.com each week.