Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Mice become first animals to produce other species’ sperm


Find has implications for preservation of endangered species, livestock

With pinhead-sized grafts of testicular tissue from newborn mammals, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have induced mice to produce fully functional sperm from evolutionarily distant species. The result has important implications for preserving the germ lines of critically endangered species as well as prized livestock.
The study, in which male mice produced functional gametes first from other mice and then from pigs and goats, is reported in the Aug. 15 issue of the journal Nature.

"This is the first report of complete spermatogenesis from tissue grafted across species," said Ina Dobrinski, assistant professor of large animal reproduction in Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine. "The production of functionally competent sperm from three different mammals indicates that testis tissue grafting may be applicable to a wide variety of species."

The work also yielded the first functional sperm from immature reproductive tissue, meaning sperm could be derived even from individuals that have not reached sexual maturity. Unlike cryonic approaches to preservation, testis tissue grafting offers a potentially inexhaustible supply of male gametes.

Mice with the testis grafts could aid studies of the effects of drugs -- including potential male contraceptives -- on sperm production. The mice also give scientists a valuable model to better understand testicular function, many aspects of which remain murky.

Dobrinski and colleagues grafted as much as one cubic millimeter of tissue from the testes of newborn mice, goats and pigs onto the backs of mice. As many as eight miniature testes developed, and in vitro fertilization revealed that the sperm produced by those testis grafts were functional.

"At least 60 percent of grafts grew into functional testis tissue under the skin," Dobrinski said, "and those grafts produced as much sperm, gram for gram, as testes in the donor species. Some grafts grew more than 100-fold."

Similar cross-species grafts of testicular tissue have been tried previously, but no sperm cells resulted. Dobrinski speculates that the mice’s backs may have provided both an ideal temperature and suitable blood vessels to allow for the growth of functional testes.

"Dr. Dobrinski is one of the few investigators attempting to remove testicular stem cells and transplant them into recipients," said Michael D. Griswold, interim dean of science at Washington State University’s School of Molecular Biosciences, who was not involved in the work. "The fact that she can graft portions of testes from other mammalian species into mice and get sperm produced is an important step forward."

The work also demonstrates that testosterone and other mammalian hormones can work across species, said David de Kretser, director of the Institute of Reproduction and Development at Monash University in Australia. "These data indicate that the hormones produced by the mouse are adequate to stimulate sperm production in a range of species."

Spermatogenesis is a highly organized process that generates virtually unlimited sperm cells during adulthood. Continuous proliferation and differentiation of germ cells occurs in a delicate balance with various testicular compartments.

"It seems that the testis grafts transferred this entire environment to the recipient mice," Dobrinski said.

She was joined in the work by Ali Honaramooz, Amy Snedaker, Michele Boiani and Hans Schöler of Penn’s Center for Animal Transgenesis and Germ Cell Research and Stefan Schlatt of the University Münster in Germany. Schlatt conducted the group’s research with mice, Honaramooz and Snedaker conducted the work involving pigs and goats, and Boiani completed the in vitro fertilization.

The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Marion Dilley and David George Jones Funds and the Commonwealth and General Assembly of Pennsylvania.

Steve Bradt | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>