After 9 months in space, mouse sperm yield healthy mice
CAPE CANAVERAL - After nine months in space, mouse sperm has yielded healthy mice.
That's the word from Japanese scientists whose results were published Monday.
The freeze-dried sperm samples were launched in 2013 to the International Space Station and returned to Earth in 2014. The intense radiation of space caused slight DNA damage to the sperm. Yet following in vitro fertilization on the ground, healthy offspring resulted. The baby mice grew into adults with normal fertility of their own.
The researchers say it's a step toward reproducing other mammals, even humans, using space-preserved sperm. They envision missions lasting several years or multiple generations, during which assisted reproductive technology might be used for domestic animals and people, too.
The findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.