Using stem-cell techniques, scientists in Japan report that they are the first to engineer sperm in infertile male mice that successfully fertilized eggs and produced offspring.
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore is based in Portland, Oregon, and has written for Wired, The Christian Science Monitor, and public radio. Her semi-obscure hobbies include climbing, billiards, board games that take up a lot of space, and piano.
Welcome to mating 2.0: the sexual act itself might not change, but when the parts don't work, we'll simply build new ones.
So say scientists in Japan who, using stem-cell techniques, are the first to engineer sperm in infertile male mice that successfully fertilized eggs and produced offspring.
The team, led by Mitinori Saitou at Kyoto University, report in the journal Cell that it used stem cells to create primordial germ cells, the precursor to sperm cells, and injected those germ cells into the testicles of infertile mice. The cells eventually produced normal-looking sperm, which went on to fertilize eggs and produce healthy--and perhaps most notably, fertile--offspring.
Scientists have already tried to create sperm using stem cells in previous in vitro studies and, as with this study, used both mice and human stem cells. But until now they hadn't had success.