Scientists from Nanjing Medical University in China have made a stunning claim, and it could end infertility as we know it.
Researchers at Nanjing Medical University in China have made a fascinating breakthrough. According to a report from the Mirror, scientists have claimed that they were able to successfully create mouse babies by injecting eggs with artificial sperm. Researchers say the breakthrough could one day greatly reduce male infertility.
The researchers turned embryonic stem cells into sperm-like cells that successfully fertilized an egg to produce fertile mouse offspring. The study was published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, and could have huge implications if replicable on a larger scale.
According to study co-author Jiahao Sha from Nanjing Medical University, “Reproducing germ cell development in vitro has remained a central goal in both reproductive biology and reproductive medicine. We established a robust, stepwise approach that recapitulates the formation of functional sperm-like cells in a dish. Our method fully complies with the gold standards recently proposed by a consensus panel of reproductive biologists, so we think that it holds tremendous promise for treating male infertility.”
About 15 percent of couples have to deal with infertility at some point, and roughly a third of these cases can be blamed on men. One of the biggest causes of male infertility is due to the testes’ inability to perform meiosis, a type of cell division that leads to the production of sperm cells. Researchers have been trying to create germ cells from stem cells for quite some time, but the recent study was the first time it was demonstrated in practice.
The study could have massive implications in a number of areas. Researchers hope to continue their work on studying the molecular processes that drive meiosis, and one day even test their new artificial sperm method on larger mammals like chimps. If it proves safe and effective for human use, the method could forever change the way people reproduce, revolutionizing current artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization methods.
A press release from the journal Cell describing the details of the study can be found here.