Nuclear Transfer

The nucleus is the central part of the egg that contains the genetic material, DNA. Nuclear transfer is an experimental laboratory technique that removes the nucleus of one egg and replaces it with the nucleus from another egg. Because the nucleus contains the DNA, the baby that is formed will have the newly transplanted DNA.

This procedure could be beneficial for women who are not able to produce their own viable eggs. In such a case, a donor egg would be obtained and the nucleus removed. Then the intended mother's nucleus, containing her DNA, would be implanted into the donor egg. The egg would then contain the intended mother's genetic material but would also contain the cytoplasm and other structures from the donor. Because the nucleus with DNA is what determines the baby's genetic makeup, the baby would be genetically linked to the intended mother and not to the donor.

Another interesting option for this procedure is to replace the nucleus of the donor egg with the nucleus from a sperm. The new nucleus egg could then be fertilized by sperm from a different man. The resulting child would be genetically linked to both men. This technique would likely be of great interest within the gay community.

The nuclear transfer procedure has been attempted with human eggs but has not yet been successful. Research studies continue to refine the techniques and methods.

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