New “designer” sperms were tested in mice recently to alter the sperm for improved health. Scientists tried this approach after facing numerous obstacles in gene therapy.
The scientists, based at the Royal Veterinary College in North Mimms, United Kingdom, used a viral vector to insert genetic material into mouse spermatozoa. Then the spermatozoa were used in an in vitro fertilization procedure. In the resulting embryos, the genetic material was found to be present and active—and inheritable. The genetic material that had been introduced to the spermatozoa was, the scientists confirmed, still functional after passing through at least three generations of mice.
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