NCBI ROFL: Self-fertilization in human: Having a male embryo without a father.

By ncbi rofl | October 4, 2010 7:00 pm

costume“Chimeras are the result of fusion of two zygotes to form a single embryo, producing an individual with genetically different kinds of tissue. If the fused zygotes are of different sex, the individual develops both ovarian and testicular tissues. The majority of these people are best reared as females and many pregnancies with living offspring have been reported in persons reared as females, and several cases has fathered a child. During ovulation, a negative pressure occurs in the lumen of the oviduct and it produces a vacuum effect which has made several pregnancies possible in subjects lacking an ipsilateral ovary by allowing the transperitoneal migration of oocyte from the contralateral gonad. Self-fertilization was reported in many flowering plants, in a kind of fish and in a case of rabbit. They have both eggs and sperms in their body and at fertilization, one sperm cell fuses with oocyte to form an embryo. Self-fertilization may also occur in human. A scenario is presented here for a woman to have a son without a father: she is a chimera of 46,XX/46,XY type resulting from the fusion of two zygotes of different sex types and she develops both ovary and testis in her body. Since XX cells tend to gather on the left side while XY cells on the right, she develops an ovary on the left side with a oviduct and a testis on the right side located in an ovarian position with no duct. Müllerian duct regression on the right side is mediated by the antimüllerian hormone derived from the ipsilateral testis and testosterone secreted from Leydig cells does not prevent the regression of the Wolffian duct. Therefore, neither an oviduct nor an epididymis and vas deferens is present next to the testis on the right side, and lumens of a well-developed rete testis have an open access to the abdominal cavity allowing the sperms to be picked-up by the contralateral oviduct. Both gonads are functional and produce spermatozoa and oocyte respectively after puberty. At the time of ovulation, estrogens increase the motility of the oviduct on the left side which results in a negative pressure in the tube and oocyte and sperms are picked-up into the tube with the help of this vacuum effect, taking both gametes to the fertilization site in the oviduct. Since the sperm contains a Y chromosome, this fertilization gives rise to a XY male embryo.”


Photo: flickr/carriepie

Related content:
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: That’s one miraculous conception.
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Self-surgery: not for the faint of heart.
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Oh, the irony!

WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ!

  • Rhacodactylus

    Who knew immaculate conception was so complicated.


  • Dhivajri

    Why is it definitely a Y sperm?

  • ncbi rofl

    @Dhivajri: because the scenario is specifically about having a male embryo without a father.

  • shadegem

    wouldn’t the possibility of self-fertilization be very, very rare? If zoology drilled one thing into my head, it’s that hermaphrodites do not produce both types at the same time. Well, eggs ARE technically produced as the fetus develops, but if one hormone is overpowering the other (such as in ovulation), wouldn’t that take out the chance of the other set of gonads producing or opening up to the opposing sex cells?
    Though female babies are definitely possible, I would say a boy is a bit…

  • acadian

    Wow. The English in this article is really, really, bad. Not just in the scientific writing kind of way, either. Just BAD. The second sentence alone deserves a prize for mangled language.

  • Mokele

    I knew this was from Medical Hypotheses before I even got halfway through. Why does anyone even subscribe to that pile of hogwash?

  • Abdul Ghafoor Khalid

    So if that possibility might be there it means that Maria, mother of Jesus Christ gave actually birth being technically virgin, na?


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.

About ncbi rofl

NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


See More

Collapse bottom bar