Cross-species testes transplant successful
Dr Kirsty Horsey
Progress Educational Trust
14 August 2002
Scientists from the Centre for Animal Transgenesis and Germ Cell Research in Pennsylvania, US, report that they have successfully transplanted sperm-making tissue between different species of animals.
Testicular tissue from newborn goats and pigs was implanted under the skin of mice in a laboratory. After several months, the tissue began to produce viable sperm. The breakthrough has raised the hope that the technique could be used to preserve the reproductive capacity of young boys about to undergo treatment for cancer which might otherwise make them infertile.
Reported in the science journal Nature, the research shows that it would, in theory, be possible to implant testicular tissue from humans into mice, where it would develop and eventually begin to produce unlimited amounts of mature sperm, which could then be extracted and frozen for later use. One advantage of this technique is that it would avoid the necessity of the tissue having to be
reimplanted into the patient, with the possibility of reintroducing cancerous cells. However, it is not yet known whether human sperm could mature fully within a mouse's life span.
© Copyright Progress Educational Trust
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.
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