Kaguya Has Two Moms

How scientists engineered a virgin birth in mice--a first for mammals--and what it means for us

In Japanese legend, Kaguya was a beautiful princess who came from the moon and was born inside a bamboo stalk. Today, at the Tokyo University of Agriculture, Kaguya's namesake is a 14-month-old mouse whose conception is every bit as fantastic: she was created by scientists using two eggs and no sperm. As reported in the journal Nature last week, that makes Kaguya the first mouse born by parthenogenesis (from the Greek for virgin birth), a reproductive method seen in insects and reptiles but never before in mammals.

For the moment, Kaguya's creation is a brilliant piece of science with little or...

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