Researchers create human sperm and egg precursor cells from stem cells

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Researchers create human sperm and egg precursor cells from stem cells

A team of researchers led by Azim Surani of the University of Cambridge, UK, and Jacob Hanna of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, has created human sperm and egg precursor cells in a lab using a person's skin cells. The team modeled their experiment on the research by stem-cell biologist Mitinori Saitou of Kyoto University, Japan, who created the first artificial primordial germ cells (PGCs) in mice but with an extremely low efficacy rate due to which the cells could not develop further. Surani and Hanna’s team was able to create gamete precursor cells—which have many of the hallmarks of PGCs—in humans with 25–40% efficiency by tweaking the human cells to make them reprogrammable. While this is a significant step towards the treatment for infertility, furthering the experiment by introducing the PGCs into humans or mice to develop functional sperm or eggs needs more study and research. 

Read more in Nature.

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Published on: Dec 26, 2014


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