English scientists claim to have created a human sperm from stem cells in the laboratory – a world first.
In a move that could eventually spell the doom of the male sex, the researchers said their work could also lead to men with fertility issues fathering children, the BBC reports.
The team who created the sperm caution that it will be at least five years before the technique is perfected, but assured that the work won't be used to ‘create humans in a Petri dish’.
They used stem cells lines from human embryos which had been removed when the embryos were only a few days old, during a process which took four to six weeks.
Professor Karim Nayernia at the NorthEast England Stem Cell Institute said "This is an important development as it will allow researchers to study in detail how sperm forms and lead to a better understanding of infertility in men - why it happens and what is causing it.
"This understanding could help us develop new ways to help couples suffering infertility so they can have a child which is genetically their own.
"It will also allow scientists to study how cells involved in reproduction are affected by toxins, for example, why young boys with leukaemia who undergo chemotherapy can become infertile for life - and possibly lead us to a solution."
The research was published in the journal Stem Cells and Development; current UK law prohibits using the sperm for fertility treatment.
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