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Medicine Science Technology

New Research Shows You Can Grow Sperm In a Dish (sciencemag.org) 158

sciencehabit writes: How the male body produces sperm has long been hidden inside its genitalia. Trying to recreate the process in a lab for humans and other mammals has led to many failures - sperm development appeared to be dependent on unique conditions in the testes. But a new technique may finally be bringing that process into the open. A team of Chinese researchers reports turning a dish of a certain type of mouse stem cell into spermlike cells, which were then used to fertilize eggs and produce healthy mouse pups. The approach could help researchers study mammalian sperm development more directly, and it could spur efforts to develop treatments for male infertility in people.
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New Research Shows You Can Grow Sperm In a Dish

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Seems that we've solved that problem.
  • Why? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @04:24PM (#51585827) Journal

    I produce plenty, don't need a dish, only a web connection.

  • >> it could spur efforts to develop treatments for male infertility in people. ...because the one thing this planet needs is even more humans?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 25, 2016 @04:35PM (#51585969)

      >> it could spur efforts to develop treatments for male infertility in people. ...because the one thing this planet needs is even more humans?

      A few years of unsuccessfully trying to have a baby would change your opinion and attitude on the subject.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        So adopt. Plenty of kids out there who could use a good home. I have several friends who've done cross-racial adoption too... there's no reason your kids need to look like you.

      • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Thursday February 25, 2016 @05:31PM (#51586645)

        "A few years of unsuccessfully trying to have a baby would change your opinion and attitude on the subject."

        It's just hormones pumped into your body by your genes who want to replicate. Since we know that, you can easily overcome the need, since it's not _you_ wanting this unpaid job for decades.

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        Nope. I'd get the hint that its natural selection in action.

      • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @10:17PM (#51588859) Homepage Journal

        >> it could spur efforts to develop treatments for male infertility in people. ...because the one thing this planet needs is even more humans?

        A few years of unsuccessfully trying to have a baby would change your opinion and attitude on the subject.

        A few successes might change yours.

        • >> it could spur efforts to develop treatments for male infertility in people. ...because the one thing this planet needs is even more humans?

          A few years of unsuccessfully trying to have a baby would change your opinion and attitude on the subject.

          A few successes might change yours.

          Awesome when a post is interesting, insightful. and funny at the same time. Well played sir, well played indeed!

    • Not to mention having bad genes- ie can't make sperm. Might be interesting idea though for Vets that have had their genitalia blown off.
      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        Sorry but I believe that its in humanity's best interests that we shouldn't try and work around the little natural selection that we haven't already circumvented.

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          You assume humans are rational. Most are not and are great big narcissists in addition. Those with reproductive problems that are rational refrain from giving their children even worse problems than they themselves have and adopt or do without children.

    • Birth rates in advanced countries are already well below the rate of replacement. In some countries, it's so low they're going to see significant population declines. The only place birth rates are still up are in the most underdeveloped parts of the world, and even in moderately developed countries it's tapered off quite a bit. China panicked about their birth rate, instituted draconian measures, and now has a significantly negative birth rate, to the point that they're going to have a huge demographic swe
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Well, the planet doesn't need more humans, but each generation of humans needs the next generation of humans to take care of it in their senescence. Not that there's likely to be a shortage of new humans in any case.

      On the flip side curing infertility isn't going to make any measurable or perceptible difference in population growth. For that there are two extremely powerful and effective cures: (1) raising the level of economic security so people don't try to procreate their way to a secure old age and (2)

    • ...because the one thing this planet needs is even more humans?

      In the developed world, birth rates are fairly stable (ie every 2 people have less than 2 babies each on average). So the only over-population problem is people in poor countries breeding like rabbits.

  • perhaps one of the male lab assistants had a sense of humour and was left alone in the lab for a while.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Well guys, it took millions of years but we're finally redundant.

    • by Punko ( 784684 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @04:42PM (#51586069)
      The only reason females of our species haven't done away with us already, is that we were the only route for children. If we lose that, there is no way they'll put up with us any longer. We're doomed, I tell you, doomed !
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Nah, they'll still need someone to get the lids off jars and kill spiders.

      • The only reason females of our species haven't done away with us already, is that we were the only route for children. If we lose that, there is no way they'll put up with us any longer. We're doomed, I tell you, doomed !

        That and the fact we can smash them if they step out of line.

      • The only reason females of our species haven't done away with us already, is that we were the only route for children. If we lose that, there is no way they'll put up with us any longer. We're doomed, I tell you, doomed !

        What makes you think that men currently *are* the only route for children? A single man, throughout his life, can provide sperm cells for hundreds of thousands of women, yet we haven't gotten to that state yet?

        The ability to grow sperm cells won't suddenly make women think "Oh - I don't need a man to have a child" because they already have that option, and yet are not choosing it.

    • And fixing the washing machine. That's about it guys. Other than that we are no longer needed by women.

      Us guys need to get Boston Dynamics to develop the ultimate sex-bot, and then men and women can forevermore go their separate ways....

      • by slew ( 2918 )

        And fixing the washing machine. That's about it guys. Other than that we are no longer needed by women.

        Us guys need to get Boston Dynamics to develop the ultimate sex-bot, and then men and women can forevermore go their separate ways....

        Ah, the givers of pain and delight...
        You can't live with them and apparently (w/o advanced technology), you can't live w/o them.

      • If my wife had to pay the mortgage – on her income alone––

        Yeah, I feel pretty secure.
        • If my wife had to pay the mortgage – on her income alone–– Yeah, I feel pretty secure.

          You do realize just how pathetic what you just wrote is, don't you?

          • Sometimes the truth hurts! And get a sense of humor. Ever hear of "black humor." Yeah, it's a thing. Look it up. Also sarcasm.
            • Sometimes the truth hurts! And get a sense of humor. Ever hear of "black humor." Yeah, it's a thing. Look it up. Also sarcasm.

              Oh, I got's me a sense of hoomer. You're still kinda pathetic. I mean that in the nicest way possible.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          There is a thing called divorce...where you will be destitute and will keep paying for her style of life.
    • by Lotana ( 842533 )

      Have no fear, we are still valued for our different approach to problem solving and directness. My friend resigned from an all-female office job after she got sick of all the gossiping and backstabbing going on. In her next job she specifically asked in the interview if there were men on the team.

  • This is probably a great thing for lesbian couples trying to conceive. No more going to sperm bank and picking out some random stranger to be the father of your kids. Now just make sperm from your partners stem cells.
    • by slew ( 2918 )

      This is probably a great thing for lesbian couples trying to conceive. No more going to sperm bank and picking out some random stranger to be the father of your kids. Now just make sperm from your partners stem cells.

      Or single women who want to marry themselves [wikipedia.org]...
      Why would such a woman want to have any random child, if they could have themselves as a child?

      Maybe we should stop this line of discussion before George Lucas's lawyers start chiming in...

    • They can already create a new (female) child out of just two eggs.. Heck, that was from the 80s, likely on "That's Incredible".

  • for the rape kit. a little gene mod here/a little there...profit!
  • by Krishnoid ( 984597 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @04:48PM (#51586137) Journal

    I, for one, welcome the new tidal wave of science fiction, social justice flamewars, and legislation that follows this. This is so promising, I may buy popcorn futures.

    Mz. Sheldon [depauw.edu], your future has arrived.

  • There is a nasty strand within feminism that regards all men as inherently evil. The prospect of being able to finally declare us redundant is therefore quite attractive to such people.This story is about one who had an abortion just because it was a boy http://www.inquisitr.com/18276... [inquisitr.com]
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      No real problem. Most women are actually fine with how things are set up gender-wise. A minority of loud female fascists does not a real problem make. May just take a while for the rest to wise up about them.

  • You can grow ANYTHING in a dish!

  • If this doesn't require the Y chromosome, then it could pave the way for female-only reproduction.

    I'm male, but I have no qualms with the continuation of our species being without the Y chromosome (males). It's not an affront to my gender identity to wonder if the future would be better off that way. I'm not talking about killing off the males; just not making any more.

    We should keep some male sperm frozen behind a glass door: "Break in case of extreme reproductive emergency."

  • This is very cool and could potentially be extremely useful in animal breeding for livestock, pets or conservation biology. Basically, differentiate stem cells into eggs and sperm, cross, differentiate the new stem cells and repeat. A cool thing in animal breeding is that this could overcome species barriers, so traits could be introgressed by crossing species where the first generation offspring normally would have been sterile.
  • I can't need to stop reading these post. Now where did I put my soma...... ?
  • Millions of babies without fathers is just what the world needs.

  • Good, by the time the machines rule humans, we'll have all of that information on how to clone human batteries ready for them.

  • Not new.
    A google search for sperm in a dish shows a huge number of links for ... oh dear.
  • I can grow sperm!

    No dish required!

  • Well, I knew that the Chinese have some exotic things on the menu, but this one is a bit novel, all the same.

  • Is that because there's so much porn on satellite TV?
  • I was disappointed when I realized they were not growing Spam.

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