Chinese scientists help male rat give birth to 10 healthy cubs for first time
Published: Jun 20, 2021 11:45 AM
Photo: screenshot of the research paper

Photo: screenshot of the research paper

Chinese scientists have constructed a rat model of pregnancy in a male parabiont and enabled 10 cubs to be successfully delivered from a male parabiont by Caesarean section which will grow to adulthood, a research paper published recently said.

Chinese scientists Zhang Rongjia from the Shanghai-based Second Military Medical University and Liu Yuhan from Shanghai-based Changhai Hospital are the authors of the paper, titled A rat model of pregnancy in the male parabiont on June 16 in bioRxiv, an open access preprint repository for the biological sciences. 

Male pregnancy is a unique phenomenon in syngnathidae, which refers to embryo or fetus incubation by males. However, whether male mammalian animals have the potential to conceive and get pregnant remains a mystery, said the paper.

First, the scientists conducted a surgery to produce a heterosexual parabiotic pair by joining a castrated male rat and a female one. After eight weeks, uterus transplantation was performed on the male parabiont. Then they transplanted blastocyst-stage embryos to the grafted uterus of the male parabiont and the native uterus of the female parabiont. Later they performed a Caesarean section on embryonic day 21.5, according to the paper.

The success rate of the entire experiment was very low at only 3.68 percent, but 10 cubs were successfully delivered from male parabionts by Caesarean section which grow to adulthood.

The results revealed the potential for rat embryonic development in male parabionts, which may have a profound impact on reproductive biology, said the paper.

This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review, the bioRxiv noted.

Global Times