Researchers Have Developed an Artificial Sperm Cell That Can Produce Healthy Offspring


Researchers Have Developed an Artificial Sperm Cell That Can Produce Healthy Offspring

Chinese scientists recently developed an artificial sperm cell capable of producing a healthy offspring. Researchers from Nanjing Medical University created an artificial sperm, which they successfully used to fertilize not only mouse eggs but also produce healthy offspring.


These scientists used embryonic stem cell to practically grow what is today considered the most effective test-tube sperm cell ever. In the whole world, this artificial sperm is the first to meet the criteria established by three fertility scientists in 2014. This achievement has earned the Chinese scientists gold standards for proof of meiosis. The results of this research were published in Cell Stem Cell.

According to John Schimenti, one of the scientists who defined the gold standard, the achievements of this study are quite remarkable. He also stated that he is not aware of any other group that had progressed this far.

An incredible feat

The team of Chinese scientists created artificial spermatids. In reality, spermatids are immature sperm cell versions, meaning they have no tails. Researchers injected these sperms into the egg of a mouse via IVF since they cannot swim. The scientists harvested embryonic stem cells from the mice and then put them in chemicals known as cytokines. These chemicals transform the embryonic stem cells into germ cells. Germ cells are the type of cells that give rise to $ex cells such as eggs and sperm.

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The scientists placed these cells next to testes-like tissue while they were differentiating. The cells were then exposed to testosterone, the male $ex hormone, coaxing them into a spermatid form. However, the team had to show that the cells retained essential characteristics as proof of their effectiveness. These features include the right percentage of donor DNA as well as the right number of chromosomes. Although it might sound easy, there were several failed attempts in their efforts to control every critical stage of $ex cell division.

Until now, proving that they have actually pushed cells through the critical but complicated process of division has been a struggle for scientists. According to a report published in the New Scientist, this dividing process leaves cells with half of the father’s chromosomes.

Human fertility issues
Questions have been circling the likelihood of applying these experiments to humans, especially since they were initially conducted on mice. Previous studies show that the ability to convert skin cells into pluripotent stem cells remains a possibility. Pluripotent stem cells are equivalent to embryonic stem cells, and these have been converted into sperm and egg cell precursors, at least theoretically. However, ethical questions surround this sensitive topic, particularly since it might end up changing how human beings procreate.

Although he was not involved in the study, Peter Donovan, a biologist from the University of California, raises some interesting questions. Are the lab-developed spermatids of the same high quality as the ones created and tested by natural selection in our testis? And how can we tell whether or not they are of the same quality?

It is not surprising that both Japanese and French scientists are following in the footsteps of the Chinese artificial sperm study. As such, we will soon know whether or not society finds this new way of procreation acceptable. Embracing technological advancements can at times prove a little bit tricky, especially for the average individual. Conformity, advantages, and disadvantages are only but a few of the factors we will have to consider.

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