CLOSE

Stem Cells Successfully Create Sperm

 

Scientists have now turned mice stem cells into sperm and have successfully fertilized eggs and produced offspring with those sperm. This is a very exciting step toward one day allowing an infertile man to have his own biological children.

A New Scientist article talks about the research that's being done by a team in the UK (are we shocked that it's not American research?).

Stem cells were extracted from early mouse embryos, and coaxed into becoming sperm by manipulating the environment in which they were grown in the lab. These sperm were then injected into normal mouse egg cells to fertilize them. Of 65 embryos implanted, seven mouse pups were born, six of which survived to adulthood.

So all this sounds promising, yet the end of the article reminds us that research still has a long way to go:

Problems with the procedure remain, however. The six mice that survived were all abnormally large or abnormally small, and were infertile. Many developed lung tumours and none lived for more than five months "“ well short of the typical three-year mouse lifespan.

Life doesn't sound so great for those mice. Still, it's an exciting step.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
arrow
video
Bone Broth 101
5669938080001

Whether you drink it on its own or use it as stock, bone broth is the perfect recipe to master this winter. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
science
Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?
iStock
iStock

If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios