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parthenogenesis

Thursday 22 April 2010

Definition: Parthenogenesis is a process used by some lizards and birds to reproduce without the need of a male.

For mammalians, the term is commonly referred to embryonic development of eggs activated artificially or aberrantly without fertilization by a sperm.

Although mammalian parthenocytes normally can not develop into a full organism, they could, in theory, provide a source to derive ES cells with an exact match to the oocyte donor’s genome (both nuclear and mitochondrial).

It is also possible that parthenogenesis could provide a source of cells that are homozygous for major histocompatibility alleles (such as HLA-A, B or DRB), thereby allowing partial MHC matching to a substantial population of unrelated transplant recipients.

It was found that recombination indeed occurs during meiosis I and II preceding parthenogenesis, and many alleles are not identical (or homozygous) in derived mouse parthenogenetic ES (PES) cells.

Nonetheless, establishing human PES cells (referred as hPES cells here) is an important milestone, not only for a potential source of human stem cells with improved histocompatibility, but also for future basic studies of epigenetic regulation and developmental/stem cell biology.

See also

- parthenogenetic embryo
- parthenogenetic blastocyst

Open References

- Genome-wide gene expression profiling reveals aberrant MAPK and Wnt signaling pathways associated with early parthenogenesis. Liu N, Enkemann SA, Liang P, Hersmus R, Zanazzi C, Huang J, Wu C, Chen Z, Looijenga LH, Keefe DL, Liu L. J Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Dec;2(6):333-44. PMID: 20926514 (Free)

References

- More new lines of human parthenogenetic embryonic stem cells. Cheng L. Cell Res. 2008 Feb;18(2):215-7. PMID: 18246085

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