Researchers at the University of Edinburgh, funded by the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), have created a way of chemically ‘fingerprinting’ individual sperm to give an indication of quality.
Scientists can then consider whether the sperm is healthy enough to be used to fertilise an egg as part of an IVF treatment.
The sperm are captured in two highly focussed beams of laser light. Trapped in what are essentially ‘optical tweezers’, an individual sperm’s DNA properties are identified by the pattern of the vibrations they emit in a process known as Raman spectroscopy. This is the first time this process has been used to evaluate DNA damage in sperm.
Dr Alistair Elfick, lead scientist on the project, said: “In natural conception the fittest and healthiest sperm are positively selected by the arduous journey they make to the egg. What our technology does is to replace natural selection with a DNA based ‘quality score’. But this is not about designer babies. We can only tell if the sperm is strong and healthy not if it will produce a baby with blue eyes.”
In the past quality tests of sperm have mostly been carried out on the basis of shape and activity. While these do give some indication of health of the sperm they do not give its DNA status.There are established tests for sperm DNA quality but they work by cutting the cells in half and tagging them with fluorescent dye – a process that kills the sperm and renders it useless. This new process does not destroy the sperm,
so if it is found to have good DNA quality, it can still be used in IVF treatment.
Conception rates in both IVF treatment and intercourse are at around one in four. By selecting the best quality sperm it is hoped this new process could both increase a couple’s chances of conception and give the child the best potential start in life.
The research is currently in a pre-clinical phase, and if successful could be available to patients in the next five to ten years.
Lawrie Jones | alfa
A new molecular player involved in T cell activation
07.12.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology
News About a Plant Hormone
07.12.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.
Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.
Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...
New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals
Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.
Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.
Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...
Scientists from the Theory Department of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg have shown through theoretical calculations and computer simulations that the force between electrons and lattice distortions in an atomically thin two-dimensional superconductor can be controlled with virtual photons. This could aid the development of new superconductors for energy-saving devices and many other technical applications.
The vacuum is not empty. It may sound like magic to laypeople but it has occupied physicists since the birth of quantum mechanics.
06.12.2018 | Event News
03.12.2018 | Event News
28.11.2018 | Event News
07.12.2018 | Life Sciences
07.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
07.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy