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ZK Li, LY Wang, LB Wang, GH Feng, XW Yuan, C Liu, K Xu, YH Li, HF Wan, Y Zhang, YF Li, X Li, W Li, Q Zhou and BY Hu
Abstract
Unisexual reproduction is widespread among lower vertebrates, but not in mammals. Deletion of the H19 imprinted region in immature oocytes produced bimaternal mice with defective growth; however, bipaternal reproduction has not been previously achieved in mammals. We found that cultured parthenogenetic and androgenetic haploid embryonic stem cells (haESCs) display DNA hypomethylation resembling that of primordial germ cells. Through MII oocyte injection or sperm coinjection with hypomethylated haploid ESCs carrying specific imprinted region deletions, we obtained live bimaternal and bipaternal mice. Deletion of 3 imprinted regions in parthenogenetic haploid ESCs restored normal growth of fertile bimaternal mice, whereas deletion of 7 imprinted regions in androgenetic haploid ESCs enabled production of live bipaternal mice that died shortly after birth. Phenotypic analyses of organ and body size of these mice support the genetic conflict theory of genomic imprinting. Taken together, our results highlight the factors necessary for crossing same-sex reproduction barriers in mammals.
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