First time human sperms are created in the laboratory using embryonic stem cells. Researchers at the Newcastle University and the NorthEast England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI) created human sperms using a new technique. Research was led by Professor Karim Nayeria.
Technique used to produce In vitro Derived Sperm:
1. Embryonic stem cells are cultured in a new medium containing the vitamin A derivative known as retinoic acid. In this new culture media embryonic stem cell differentiated into the germline stem cells.
2. Differentiated germline stem cells produced a protein. These proteins were stained with green fluorescent marker and were extracted from the media using laser by FACSTM (fluorescence-activated cell sorting) method.
3. Further differentiation of these germline stem cells expressed marker proteins which are specific to primordial germ cell, spermatogonial stem cells, spermatocytes, spermatids and then finally the sperm.
4. These marker proteins indicate that the germline stem cells are differentiated into male gametes or human sperms with haploid number of chromosomes. These human sperms are known as In vitro derived sperm.
5. Embryonic stem cells with XY chromosomes but not with XX chromosomes are differentiated into early stage sperms known as spermatagonia, indicating that the genes which are present in the Y-chromosome (male chromosome) play a very important role in the production of the sperms.
This Research will lead to better understanding of developmental biology of human sperms. This new invention will help researchers to better understand the infertility in men. Like what are the causes for male infertility and also why these changes happens in some men. These understanding will help in developing new methods or techniques, to help infertile couples to have a child, of their own.
This will also allow researchers to study the effect of toxins on cells that are involved in reproduction. For example young boys with cancer like leukaemia treated with chemotherapy will suffer from infertility throughout their life. These studied may help in developing new solution for this problem.
This will also help scientists to better understand the process of sex linked inheritance of genetic diseases.
The in vitro derived sperms will not and cannot be used for fertility treatments. Law of the developed country also prohibits the usage of in vitro derived sperms for fertility treatment. Researchers of this technique say that they are only interested in understanding the causes for infertility in some men and they are hoping to develop new techniques as a answer to this infertility problem.
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