Sperm grown from stem cells in the lab
When sperm meets egg big changes are afoot. But even before, preparing these germline cells requires many careful transformations in the body. Here researchers replicate some of these milestones in the lab, sending mouse stem cells on a path towards becoming sperm. Along the way the team grow clusters of ‘germline stem cell-like cells’ (highlighted here in red) in different conditions, searching for those that specialise into early sperm – known as spermatogonia (green) – most efficiently. To compare their lab-grown spermatogonia with natural mouse cells, the researchers inject them into mouse testes, letting them develop and mature before using them to fertilise real eggs. These cells may offer insights into mammalian spermatogenesis, but in the future similar techniques may also aid in human fertility.
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