Scientists say they’re step closer to being able to produce sperm and eggs from stem cells, reports the Telegraph.
The researchers, from Stanford University, used embryonic stem cells to create germ cells. Germ cells are what eventually make sperm and eggs.
The researchers claim that this achievement could ultimately help with male infertility.
“Ten to 15% of couples are infertile. About half of these cases are due to an inability to make eggs or sperm.
“Figuring out the genetic ‘recipe’ needed to develop human germ cells in the laboratory will give us the tools we need to trace what’s going wrong for these people,” Professor Renee Pera of Stanford University, California, said.
Earlier studies have reproduced egg and sperm cells, though they were always damaged or malformed. The researchers behind this latest study think their germ cells are so spot on they could become fully functioning reproductive cells.
In July, we reported on the British researchers who claimed to be the first to create sperm in the lab. However, the lead stem cell biologist, Professor Karim Nayernia, did say, “The shape is not quite normal nor the movement.”