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Scientists Get Closer To Replicating Human Sperm ( 224

Rachel England reports via Engadget: Scientists have taken an important step forward in recreating the way the human body makes sperm, which could one day mean creating artificial sperm and eggs for infertility treatment. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge's Gurdon Institute, are thought to be the first team to have reached the "halfway point" -- a significant milestone -- on the path between stem cells and immature sperm. This pathway -- which the team are attempting to track and understand -- involves embryonic cells turning into immature sperm via a series of complex steps known as meiosis. Cells follow the same journey for around eight weeks, before taking different directions depending on whether they're to be sperm or eggs. Previously, the team had managed to track this pathway to the four-week mark. Now, using new technology in the form of miniature artificial testicles (called "gonadal organoids"), it's on track to pass this point and gain new, deep insight into the process of sperm creation. Further reading: The Guardian
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Scientists Get Closer To Replicating Human Sperm

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  • We need the MRA douchebags to come out and march against the elimination of the male sex! Just 50 years a woman can create sperm from her own cells or the cells of a partner and when enough of them do that the male sex will end...........

    • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @11:59PM (#55853347)

      No. Men aren't all rape monsters as the worst feminist propaganda claims, but neither are all women man-haters.

      Just like men, women are social primates who require social connections with the sex to which they're attracted... and with 90% of the population being heterosexual, men aren't in any danger of being replaced by a lab and a Hitachi wand any time soon.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        "Men aren't all rape monsters as the worst feminist propaganda claims"

        Perhaps not. But the #MeToo movement has shown that there are plenty of wealthy, well-connected, educated, successful vindictive horndog scumbags in every industry.
        I saw it many times when I waited tables many years ago. Managers treated the female staff as sex slaves. One manager cheated on his pregnant wife by offering choice tables & shifts in exchange for sex. Those who refused got cut early or worked the slow days.
        Good thing for

    • by mentil ( 1748130 )

      However, the procedure is so complex, only a handful of scientists would be able to perform it. So what would really be needed is a way to automate artificial sperm production; let's call it an 'organ'. Going to a special facility that seeds the organ with source cells to create the artificial sperm would be a hassle, so why not embed this organ inside the human body? Not everyone would need these sperm-creating organs, since some would only utilize their eggs; so, only about half of the females would need

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      An alternate prediction: both sexes will continue indefinitely, but the differences between them will be significantly attenuated over time. With most of the traditionally sex-linked tasks (brute manual labor, combat, conception, carrying fetuses to term, etc) readily outsourced to machines, a person's sex will become a minor detail, similar in importance to, say, hair-color or eye-color. i.e. mostly a matter of aesthetics, and modifiable without too much difficulty or controversy, if what you were born

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I think it's unlikely but not impossible to imagine some kind of synthetic sperm further altering the male/female dynamic in Western countries where women have a significant amount of economic parity.

      It's been hypothesized by many that the increasing economic independence of women has significantly altered the social landscape. Women marry later if at all due to well-paying careers. I even think the whole #metoo movement is something of a byproduct of increasing female financial power and a rejection of h

      • ha, in an all out fight between men and women, I wouldn't bet on the women. Or, wake me up when women are winning martial arts tournaments (they won't, ever)

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          That's the thing. All out physical combat no longer underscores much of "winning" and "losing" in modern civilizations and women have been gradually gaining the financial independence necessary to remove their dependence on and subservience to men in our new, combat-free environment.

          They're actually more similar to female royalty in older monarchies, using wealth and power to get men to perform combat on their behalf, like mercenaries.

          • That's good in places where that is true,

            however your view of the world is of a subset of western cultures. And those have negative population growth, so those won't endure sad to say.

            the positive population growth is among people with more brutish treatment of women. That's whom evolution will favor. The male chauvinist pigs shall inherit the earth.

  • ... the continuous line of humanity will come to an end.

    Just think... in the future, generations may be born that don't have any ancestors at all.

    • So, let me get this straight. Your mom is Jeremy's fathers mitochondrial what? I thought you had his features.

      "Nice Ear's" - Mr. Potato head

  • Of all the things humanity doesn't have a shortage of, spermatozoa have got to be right up near the top of the list :)

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      Of all the things humanity doesn't have a shortage of, spermatozoa have got to be right up near the top of the list :)

      Really. A normal ejaculation has enough live sperm to impregnate every fertile woman on the continent.
      Even those with really really bad sperm count, you'll probably never find one that only has one live wriggler, thus requiring it to be cloned.

      • In vitro yes.
        Via intercourse not so much.
        Fertilization is (un?)fortunately not as easy as sperm meets egg.

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          In vitro yes.
          Via intercourse not so much.

          Since we're talking cloning sperm, I would presume that intercourse does not come into play anyhow?

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Even so, the fact that guys who can't procreate naturally are willing to spend large amounts of money on the problem drives research like this. Apparently having children that are genetically related to them is really important.

        • You might even consider it a biological imperative... that is the root cause for the hormones that make men decide that having a fertile woman around is desirable in the first place.
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Of all the things humanity doesn't have a shortage of, spermatozoa have got to be right up near the top of the list

      Indeed. Males are basically ejaculation machines. If you want to "fix" something with technology that needs fixing, make hornier females.

  • Are the 'Gonadal Organoids' brass? Do they come (sorry, couldn't resist) in sizes?

  • This is sooooo necessary because 7.5 billion humans infesting this globe is nowhere near enough.

    • Well, of course it is. As everybody knows, the 7.5 billion on the planet aren't the right ones.

      And then there were two

    • There's plenty of other planets and systems for us to infest yet I bet.

      An automated 'seed' ship could grow new humans at the right time to raise and train them before reaching a good looking planet. Assuming the ship-board AI doesn't go Skynet on the way.

    • Who cares about the number of people on the planet?
      Get rid of CO2 pollution and we have no problem.

      I'm tired about idiots throwing the "over population mantra" who live in countries that clearly has no overpopulation.

      Hint: most first nations have problems with sustaining their population size, birth rates far below 2.0 kids per couple, or woman. And for some strange reason (actually not so strange if you dig into it) they have the highest rates of infertile men, too.

      Why do you want to punish an Japanese or

    • Typically, the body eliminates immune cells that see itself as a target. Seems it missed one here.

  • by zawarski ( 1381571 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2018 @01:00AM (#55853547) would have seen it's only meant for drinking.
  • I thought someone by now would have posted a joke about only reaching the half-way point.

  • All kidding aside, this sounds like an important development. SF authors will have fun with it. Though all along it's been pretty easy for them to just talk about people being constructed from high tech goop/whatever, this will make "Hard SF" more plausible if they need to use constructs of humans as a plot point. An AI with a starship could go into the planet populating business even easier now, and to whatever spec it can program in. []
  • Is there suddenly a world wide shortage of human sperm? This seems the height of waste.
    • by shanen ( 462549 )

      Exactly my question, but I'll never see a mod point to give you.

      Looked like a surprisingly active topic, so I stopped by in my usual futile quest for "Funny" or "Insightful" comments. I guess that means I actually square or cube your "WHY?" Not only 'why do this' but 'why were so many people on Slashdot interested enough to comment on it' (without generating any "Funny" or "Insightful" mods (to date)).

      As regards your sig I've heard that Honest Abe is the most frequently used source for bogus quotes. However

    • Is there suddenly a world wide shortage of human sperm? This seems the height of waste.

      Can you see no value in understanding the process of how sperm is created than to create sperm?

  • I knew it, I JUST knew it!

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      I knew it, I JUST knew it!

      Honestly, I'm all for it. The women who want to get pregnant in this way, go right ahead. No child support that way.

      • they'll steal cells from you, impregnate themselves with derived sperm, and then get your money

  • ...every sperm is great!
    When a sperm is created
    God gets quite irate

Your good nature will bring you unbounded happiness.