Mouse Sperm Grown in Lab

Could someday mean infertile men can father babies
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2012 1:22 PM CST
Scientists recently grew mouse sperm cells in a lab.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – In what could be a breakthrough for men battling with infertility, scientists were recently able to grow mouse sperm in a lab. Scientists hope to someday use the same process to grow human sperm, which could mean that infertile men would be able to father children of their own, the Telegraph reports. The sperm was created by researchers in Germany and Israel, who took germ cells—the cells responsible for sperm production, found in testicles—and fashioned a testicle-like environment by surrounding them with agar jelly.

"We were able to produce viable sperm that could have been used to create baby mice. The sperm appeared healthy and were not genetically damaged," said one of the researchers. Male infertility experts hailed the breakthrough, but the researcher notes that, so far, the same method has not worked on human cells. Even so, he says, "I believe it will eventually be possible to routinely grow human male sperm to order." In order to successfully simulate the sperm-producing environment, one professor has an approach that may shock PETA: use live mice as "hosts" to incubate the human germ cells. (Read more sperm stories.)

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