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Stem Cell Research

Researchers Create Sperm Cells in Lab

15 years, 10 months ago

2122  0
Posted on Jan 28, 2004, 12 p.m. By Bill Freeman

A team of Japanese scientists have managed to coax mouse embryonic stem cells to transform into sperm cells. Egg cells were produced from stem cells in May this year, but this is the first time that sperm has been produced in a laboratory. The research was conducted by Toshiaki Noce and colleagues at the privately funded Mitsubishi Kagaku Institute of Life Sciences in Tokyo.

A team of Japanese scientists have managed to coax mouse embryonic stem cells to transform into sperm cells. Egg cells were produced from stem cells in May this year, but this is the first time that sperm has been produced in a laboratory. The research was conducted by Toshiaki Noce and colleagues at the privately funded Mitsubishi Kagaku Institute of Life Sciences in Tokyo. Noce cultivated the stem cells in lab dishes along with other cells that secrete hormones that promote sperm development. After cultivation, the mixture of cells was transferred into mice, where they spontaneously formed tiny tubules like those found in the testes. The stem cells remaining inside the newly developed tubules then developed into sperm. Experiments revealed that the sperm cells appear to be fully functioning, and were able to fertilize egg cells, however whether the fertilized eggs would develop into healthy offspring remains to be seen. The researchers also found that sperm cells can only be produced from male stem cells, unlike eggs, that surprisingly can be produced from both male and female stem cells.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by www.washingtonpost.com on the 16th September 2003.

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