During a study conducted at the NorthEast England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI) , researchers achieved a scientific breakthrough by developing an innovative way to create human sperm in the lab.
Professor Karim Nayernia, the leading researcher of the study says that the discovery can unlock the secrets of male infertility and help scientists better understand how the sperm forms. This will allow scientists develop new methods to treat male infertility as well as to learn how external factor such as toxins can affect sperm cells or how genetic diseases are passed on.
Scientists created sperm from stem cells with male chromosomes (XY), which were turned into germ stem cells that further divided to produce mature human sperm. The artificially created sperm is called In Vitro Derived sperm (IVD sperm).
Many specialists are concerned that the discovery could be used for fertility treatment. Professor Nayernia says that scientists do not intend to create humans in the lab and their findings will be used only for scientific purposes to find the causes of infertility.
The study is published in the latest issue of the Stem Cells and Development journal.