Every Indian would have heard the story of Lord Ganesh or Ganapati once in your lifetime. He is a famous Hindu god with an elephant head. According to mythology, he was not born like us. Not conceived by sperm or developed in a womb or any other process that we normal human beings go through. He was created by Parvati in a very non-biological way, or maybe not. But how can anything be born without a sperm, even fish reproduces by sperm, isn’t it how life works? Well, let’s discuss the possibility.
But first, do you know the creation story? If not, here is a quick recap of how Ganapati was born. And of course, it is Mythology, so you don’t have to believe every word of it.
Ganesh is a son of Parvati and Shiva. Goddess Parvathi calls Nandi, who is Shiva’s gatekeeper, and asks him to guard her quarter’s gates as she was going to take a shower. And particularly demands not to let anyone inside without her permission. After some time, she notices that Shiva was in her room. She feels betrayed as Nandi did not follow her order but understands that Shiva is his Lord. Parvati concludes that she needs a loyal son like Nandi, who would follow her every command.
Parvathi starts the process of creation by removing dirt from her body (or turmeric in some versions of the story). She removes the dirt grime and creates a boy’s idol from it. And with her powers breathes life into this idol, it quickly transforms into a living boy.
Now, after reading this story, anybody can argue that its total imagination. Nothing of this sort can be accomplished even in wildest dreams. I would say there are 50-50 chances of it being true. Because science is catching up in turning this into reality.
If you think of it rationally, any living being is made up of cells. So, anything to be born needs cells, sperm enters the egg, and after a long process, cells are formed, which multiplies till a whole baby is formed. Without cells, there is nothing, then how could Parvati have created a child? What is the point of bath? Unless she was scraping off cells from her skin? It may be a possibility. If not, the whole story can be scrapped as mythology.
We all know that skin has cells. If you can consider the possibility that Parvati was removing skin cells, then the process through which a child can be born is known as vitro gametogenesis (IVG) in the modern age.
We all have heard about IVF wherein an egg and a sperm are mated in test-tube and then put back in the womb for the baby to grow. Similarly, studies are going on IVG wherein you don’t need sperm or an egg. It works using induced pluripotent stem cells. These stem cells are derived by taking skin punched biopsy.
This is all the skin that is needed, Once the cells are obtained, they are grown in a tissue culture plate. It takes about 3 weeks to multiply enough, and these cells are dermal fibroblasts.
In another 3 weeks, it turns into induced pluripotent stem cells.
These stem cells are used to make germline cells, which are the embryonic precursors of egg and sperm cells (gametes).
This means we can have the same results as a healthy baby born out of sperm and an egg.
Coming back to the story, we can conclude that there can be reproduction only by skin cells. We don’t yet know if this process can be followed with only cells from epidermis (upper layer of skin). Secondly, IVG takes almost more than 6 weeks just to form Germline cells, let alone a whole grown baby boy. On the other hand, we believed IVF was impossible a few years ago, So I would say science will get there soon enough.
Only if we had considered the possibility that there may be even a tiny bit of chance that this is not imagination, these studies could have been started much earlier. Therefore, I encourage people to read mythology. There may be 99% imaginary stories, but by 1%, you can have an excellent idea for your next invention. Our scientists are doing a great job and hope that sometime soon, we can eliminate the issues of infertility.
What do you think of this creation story?