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Human Sperm Created From Embryonic Stem Cells

Researchers have developed a process for producing human sperm from stem cells. While both exciting and frightening at the same time, what does this mean for the future?

The research is being touted as a breakthrough in how we study and diagnose problems such as infertility and the effects toxins have on sperm. "In the technique developed at Newcastle, stem cells with XY chromosomes (male) were developed into germline stem cells which were then prompted to complete meiosis - cell division with halving of the chromosome set. These were shown to produce fully mature, sperm called scientifically, In Vitro Derived sperm (IVD sperm)."

The article addresses possible concerns such as lab created humans saying, "this does not mean that humans can be produced 'in a dish' and we have no intention of doing this." However, it appears that there will at some point be the possibility of creating fertile sperm from only the cells of a woman. The possibilities appear to be endless and I'm sure this will contribute to the heated debate about stem cell research.

In total, I feel this is an important breakthrough and I'm encouraged by the possibilities but not without some reservation. What do you think? Scary, important progress, or both?

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