Space pups born

Japanese researchers found mouse sperm exposed to high levels of radiation for nearly six years produced an outsized brood of healthy, unremarkable “space pups.” Their study was published Friday in Science Advances.

The sperm was stored within the International space station in freeze-dried form. Once brought back to Earth and rehydrated, it resulted within the birth of 168 young, free of genetic defects. Developmental biologist and lead author Teruhiko Wakayama told AFP on Thursday that there was little difference between mice fertilised by space sperm and sperm that had remained confined to our planet.

“All pups had normal appearance,” he said, and when researchers examined their genes “no abnormalities were found.”This September 11, 2020, image courtesy of Teruhiko Wakayama, University of Yamanashi, shows healthy offspring and next generation of mice derived from space preserved spermatozoa.

Japanese researchers found mouse sperm exposed to high levels of radiation for nearly six years produced an outsized brood of healthy, unremarkable “space pups.” Their study was published Friday in Science Advances.

Space pups born from frozen mouse sperm in Sciences advance

The sperm was stored within the International space platform in freeze-dried form. Once brought back to Earth and rehydrated, it resulted within the birth of 168 young, freed from genetic defects

Developmental biologist and lead author Teruhiko Wakayama told AFP on Thursday that there was little difference between mice fertilised by space sperm and sperm that had remained confined to our planet. “All pups had normal appearance,” he said, and when researchers examined their genes “no abnormalities were found.”

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In 2013, Wakayama and colleagues at the University of Yamanashi in Japan launched three boxes, each containing 48 ampoules of freeze-dried sperm, to the ISS for the long-term study.

They wanted to work out whether future exposure to radiation in space would damage DNA in reproductive cells or pass mutations along to offspring. that would be a drag for our own species in future space exploration and colonisation missions.

Batches were returned to Earth for fertilisation after the primary nine months, then after two years, and eventually after six years, resulting in many births.
Freeze-dried sperm was selected for the experiment because it are often preserved at temperature , instead of needing a freezer.

The ampoules were also small and really light, about the dimensions of alittle pencil, further cutting launch costs.

When the space mice reached adulthood, they were randomly mated and therefore the next generation appeared normal also .

Space colonies
Wakayama, now director for Advanced Biotechnology Center at the University of Yamanashi, told AFP he had been inspired by the fantasy of Heinlein and Asimov and once wanted to be an astronaut. Though he settled on becoming a scientist, the sense of wonder and whimsy about space exploration never left him.

“In the longer term , when the time involves migrate to other planets, we’ll got to mantain the range of genetic resources, not just for humans but also for pets and livestock ,” Wakayama and colleagues wrote in their paper. “For cost and safety reasons, it’s likely that stored germ cells are going to be transported by spaceships instead of by living animals.”

Getting to other planets means leaving the security of Earth’s protective atmosphere and magnetic flux — which also extends to the ISS, 400 kilometers above the surface.

Deep space is crammed with strong radiation from both solar particles and galactic cosmic rays from outside our system.

Solar flares from the surface of the Sun generate particles which will have particularly devastating impacts on human health and penetrate current generation spaceships.

According to Wakayama, the method of freeze drying sperm increases its tolerance compared to fresh sperm, since the previous doesn’t contain water inside its cell nuclei and cytoplasms.

According to the team’s calculations, freeze-dried sperm might be stored for up to 200 years on board the orbital outpost.

Humanity may additionally want to spread its genetic resources off planet just in case of a disaster on Earth, the paper added.

The study noted it’s still necessary to research the consequences of space radiation on frozen female eggs and fertilised embryos before humans take this next step into the time .

Devasena R

By Devasena R

A self-motivated deadline oriented writer with a passion for telling unique stories for the public interest . CURRENTLY PURSUING HER PHD IN ENGLISH LITERATURE

2 thoughts on “Space Pups born from Frozen Mouse Sperm”
  1. A well covered article on genetic mutation through space. I was awaiting to read this one

  2. Science and ongoing genetic researches always has it’s Advantages. A thought provoking article

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