Feeds

German boffins make sperm cells from bone marrow

What future for boners?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
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 ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.