Feeds

German boffins make sperm cells from bone marrow

What future for boners?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Scientists in Germany have managed to coax stem cells drawn from bone marrow to grow into immature sperm cells. The team says if these so-called spermatagonial cells can be matured, the work would have massive implications for fertility treatments.

The research team isolated mesenchymal stem cells from samples of bone marrow donated by male volunteers. This is a type of cell which has previously been induced to grow into other body tissue, such as muscle.

Next, these mesenchynmal cells were cultured in the lab and grown into male reproductive cells, called "germ cells". Genetic markers revealed the presence of spermatagonial stem cells, an early phase of the male germ cell development.

Spermatagonial cells are found in the human testes, and in most men these would develop into mature, functional sperm cells. This is the first time this kind of cell has been artificially produced.

But important as the breakthrough is, researchers are cautioning against wild street parties and other unrestrained celebration.

For one thing, proposed legislation in the UK would ban using artificially created cells in fertility treatments. And for another, the work is still at a very early stage.

Even the research team leader, Professor Karim Nayernia, formerly of the University of Göttingen but now of the North-east England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI), counsels caution.

He said that before he could say that the work has potential applications in terms of fertility treatments in humans, there would need to be a significant investment of research time, within an appropriate social and ethical framework.

Professor Nayernia said: "We're very excited about this discovery, particularly as our earlier work in mice suggests that we could develop this work even further.

"Our next goal is to see if we can get the spermatagonial stem cells to progress to mature sperm in the laboratory and this should take around three to five years of experiments."

The work, a joint project between the Medical School of Hannover and the University of Göttingen, is published in the April 13 2007 issue of the journal Reproduction: Gamete Biology. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.