Scientists in China have managed to create sperm cells in the laboratory, and also was successfully used to fertilize an egg, and eventually gave birth to children in an experiment conducted on mice.
As quoted of BBC, breakthrough of the Chinese scientists was published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, on February 25, 2016. The scientists said the findings are expected to be applied to humans, so that it can help men who can not produce sperm or have problems with fertility due to cancer treatment.
|Illustration of sperm cells and egg cells. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1XdRJ0)|
As in the experiment, the scientists used embryonic stem cells from mice, then transformed into sperm after going through a process involving chemicals, hormones, and testicular tissue. The scientists in the experiment rearrange the DNA in the cell, because such as an egg, the sperm cell must lose half of its chromosomes, so that when they united are complementary.
But in these experiments, the Chinese scientists create sperm was not as we knew all this time, ie with tail and head, like a tadpole. Instead, they make spermatid (the sperm at an earlier stage).
However, spemartid has a number of genetic information that is sufficient to be able to fertilize an egg. In the process, the scientists successfully fertilize mice eggs using the technique of in vitro fertilization or more commonly known as IVF.
"The children born by female mice were healthy and fertile," said Xiao-Yang Zhao, a scientist from the Chinese Academy of Science.
Spermatids have been used to create healthy human babies in Japan. But the procedure is illegal in some countries.
Besides the legal issues, there are other challenges in the research and application in humans. The problem is, no adults with embryonic stem cells. But Zhao said that the problem can be solved by changing the skin cells into stem cells. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | BBC]
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