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Scientists grow sperm in laboratory

Japanese researchers have cultivated sperm from the testes of baby mice.

Image: John Birdsall/Press Association Images via PA Images

SPERM HAS BEEN grown in a laboratory by Japanese researchers.

The landmark study by Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine could help cancer patients to preserve their fertility, as well as give a new insight into male reproductive problem, The Guardian reports.

The study has been hailed as a “crucial experimental advance” towards the use of lab-grown sperm by fertility experts.

The findings could possibly be used to help infertile men have children through standard IVF treatments, and benefit boys with cancer who are are at risk of being made infertile by treatments but are too young to produce sperm.

The researchers cultivated small pieces of tissue from the testes of baby mice on a gel bathed in nutrients and after several weeks they were able to collect viable sperm from the tissue.

The sperm were used in IVF treatments to produce 12 live mouse pups that later had offspring of their own.

Because the sperm was taken from tissue that was cultivated after being frozen for up to 25 days, there is a possibility that cold storage did not harm the cells. The work was reported in the journal, Nature.

Read more in the article by Ian Sample in today’s Guardian newspaper>

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