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Aurora magazine

Space mice: first animals born from sperm stored in space

A Japanese team sent sperm dehydrated mice to the International Space Station. After 9 months, he used them to fertilize some eggs by getting a litter in perfect health. Mice do not show genetic abnormalities or major illnesses, which are far from obvious. Space is in fact full of radiation, which could damage the reproductive system of animals and humans.

The researchers dehydrated and frozen mouse sperm samples, then dispatched them into space for 288 days. This happened between August 2013 and May 2014. The samples then returned and the researchers compared them with sperm stored in similar conditions but on the ground. Spatial spermatopses showed a comprehensible number of major DNA damage damages.

The authors of the study used sperm in the two groups for in vitro fertilization. The embryos thus obtained were implanted in some females to complete their pregnancy. The birth rates of the two groups were similar. The researchers then performed DNA analysis on the small ones: spores born from sperm spatial revealed minimal differences. Once adults, the mice created no problems and their little ones were healthy.

The findings indicate that DNA damage in the sperm was fixed during fertilization, almost without trace. The application is, however, for the moment fantascientific: the study aims in fact to analyze the possible consequences of a colonization in space.