Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

South Sudan : Rebel Riek Machar slams president Salva Kiir

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

South Africa : Apartheid killer De Kock denied parole

Read more

FOCUS

Bastille Day: youth pays hommage to ancestors who fought 'Great War' (1914 - 1918)

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Nigel Farage, Leader of the UK Independence Party

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Endocrine disruptors: Is the EU doing enough to protect its citizens' health?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israelis taking bomb shelter selfies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Pavlo Klimkin, Ukrainian Foreign Minister

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Raed Fahmi, former Iraqi Minister of Science and Technology

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Germany's World Cup title

Read more

  • Boules and booze: Bastille Day à la New Yorkaise

    Read more

  • Shipwrecked Costa Concordia successfully refloated

    Read more

  • Alberto Contador out of Tour de France after crash

    Read more

  • France commemorates WWI centenary on Bastille Day

    Read more

  • In pictures: 2014 World Cup historic moments

    Read more

  • Paris’s Bastille Day fireworks ‘a homage to victims’ of WWI

    Read more

  • Germany defeat Argentina 1-0 to win fourth World Cup title

    Read more

  • Kremlin mulls 'retaliatory strikes' after death of Russian civilian

    Read more

  • Senegal honours the soldiers who fought for France in WWI

    Read more

  • Clashes erupt in Paris as thousands march to support Palestinians

    Read more

  • Thousands flee northern Gaza after Israeli warning

    Read more

  • Major differences remain as deadline looms in Iran nuclear talks

    Read more

  • Rival Libyan militias exchange heavy fire at Tripoli airport

    Read more

  • French military to extend Mali 'counterterrorism' operations into Sahel

    Read more

SCIENCE

UK scientists first to create sperm in laboratory

©

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-09

British researchers at Newcastle University claim to have created human sperm using embryonic stem cells in a step they say could help develop treatments for male infertility.

AFP - A team of British scientists claimed Wednesday to have created human sperm using embryonic stem cells, in a medical first that they say will lead to a better understanding of fertility.
   
Researchers led by Professor Karim Nayernia at Newcastle University and the NorthEast England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI) developed a new technique that allows the creation of human sperm in the laboratory.
   
They stressed that the sperm, developed from stem cells with XY chromosomes (male), would not be used for fertility treatment, as this is prohibited by British law and in any case is not their main interest.
   
"This is an important development as it will allow researchers to study in detail how sperm forms and lead to a better understanding of infertility in men -- why it happens and what is causing it," said Nayernia.
   
"This understanding could help us develop new ways to help couples suffering infertility so they can have a child which is genetically their own."
   
He said more investigation was needed to decide whether the so-called in-vitro derived (IVD) sperm, could be used as a fertility treatment, for example for boys who became infertile after receiving chemotherapy for cancer.
   
While such a treatment would not likely be developed for at least a decade, Nayernia said legislation should be put in place "sooner rather than later" to allow the technique to be licensed.
   
The team's work involved developing stem cells that had XY chromosomes into germline cells -- cells that can can pass their genetic material to future generations.
   
These were then prompted to complete meiosis, or cell division, which then produced "fully mature, functional sperm."
   
Stem cells are immature cells that can develop into different cell types.
   
The scientists tried to develop cells with XX chromosomes (female) in the same way but they did not progress beyond early stage sperm, called spermatagonia. The team concluded that the genes on a Y chromosome are essential for sperm maturation.
   
The research, published in the journal Stem Cells and Development, could also lead to a better understanding of how genetic diseases are passed on.
   
However, other scientists expressed doubt about the work.
   
"As a sperm biologist of 20 years' experience, I am unconvinced from the data presented in this paper that the cells produced by Professor Nayernia's group from embryonic stem cells can be accurately called 'spermatozoa'," said  Dr Allen Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield.
   
"While the cells produced may possess some of the distinctive genetic features and molecular markers seen in sperm, fully differentiated human spermatozoa have specific cellular morphology, behaviour and function that are not described here."
 

Date created : 2009-07-09

Comments

COMMENT(S)