NEWS: If it looks like a sperm and swims like a sperm…

 

Professor Karim Nayernia, creator of stem cell sperm.

Professor Karim Nayernia, creator of stem cell sperm.

 

It could be lab-created sperm.

Newcastle University scientists have created human sperm from stem cells for the first time ever in history, the Financial Times reports.

In five to 10 years, the practice will enable infertile men to have children, scientists said.

Project leader Karim Nayernia said the specimens produced “looked fully mobile and functional under the microscope” although more research will be needed before the in vitro designed (IVD) sperm is used to fertilise human eggs. 

The process included cultured stem cells, from a male embryo, with “special chemicals.” Some of the cells divided, or underwent meiosis, and then grew into mobile sperm with a head and tail.

The research originally began with mouse stem cells and adult stem cells in Göttingen, Germany, but moved to Newcastle in 2006 because embryo experiments are banned in Germany.

Apparently, IVD sperm can only be produced from stem cells with male XY chromosomes, Nayernia said. Female XX chromosomes do not progress further than the early-stage sperm.

Nayernia said the goal now is to make human sperm from induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, which “produces embryo-like stem cells from skin or other adult cells,” within the next six months.


– JD

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