Israeli scientists have demonstrated the ability for mammals to mate and produce only female babies. A similar system based on identical principles could produce only males.
The research for the study was led by Prof. Udi Qimron, Dr. Ido Yosef and Dr. Motti Gerlic and conducted by Dr. Liat Edry-Botzer, Rea Globus, Inbar Shlomovitz and Prof. Ariel Munitz, all of the Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine. The research was published in EMBO Reports.
“We proved the concept in mouse models, but the concept could also be demonstrated in cattle, swine, goats, chickens and other animals,” Qimron said. He noted that humans are likewise mammals and the concept could ultimately be applied to human children “if a mad ruler decides he wants to engineer the people to have only male or female offspring – we have provided the proof of concept.”
Last year, in what became a ground-breaking and controversial medical first, a scientist in China claimed to have created the world’s first genetically edited babies. The researcher, He Jiankui of Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, said he altered embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting so far. He said his goal was not to cure or prevent an inherited disease, but to try to bestow a trait that few people naturally have: an ability to resist possible future infection with HIV.
This kind of gene editing is banned in most countries.