Getty Images
December 24, 2014 11:19 PM EST

British scientists from Cambridge have succeeded in using skin cells to create primitive forms of artificial sperm and eggs.

The feat could transform fertility treatment and our understanding of age-related diseases, the Guardian reports.

Scientists created the early sex cells by culturing human embryonic stem cells for five days in controlled conditions.

They then showed that by following the same procedure they could convert adult skin tissue into early-stage sperm and eggs, raising the likelihood of using sex cells that genetically match a patient undergoing IVF treatment.

The scientists believe these cells have the potential could grow into mature sperm and eggs, something that has never been done in a lab before.

[The Guardian]

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

Write to Helen Regan at

Read More From TIME

Related Stories