Grow Your Own Eggs and Sperm

Amanda Clark
Fertile ground: Researchers at UCLA prodded iPS cells to develop into egg- and sperm-cell precursors. But before they could do so, the researchers had to find a way to identify and isolate them from surrounding cells. Cell-surface markers (shown here in green) allowed them to do just that. Credit: Amanda Clark

For couples who can’t seem to get pregnant, one of the more common causes is egg or sperm quality: sperm that never make it to the egg or that can’t fertilize it once they’re there, and eggs that resist fertilization or implantation in the uterine wall. Now, for the first time, scientists have turned adult cells into egg- and sperm-cell precursors, an achievement that could one day help infertile couples conceive a child that shares their DNA.

Amanda Clark, a developmental biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, created the egg and sperm precursors using an existing line of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, so named for their ability to turn into just about any tissue type and lauded for their potential in regenerative medicine.

>>>> Article in MIT Technology Review

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