Can Stem Cells Become Sperm Cells?

"For instance, if you had a few skin cells from Albert Einstein -- or perhaps even a hair follicle from the pope or Queen Elizabeth -- you could generate pluripotent stem cells," he said. "Any couple could go to an IVF clinic and have a child that is half, say Albert Einstein or perhaps Brad Pitt or Elizabeth Taylor."

But Nayernia said any clinical applications derived from his research were at least five years away, after significant vetting by further experiments.

Right now, he said, his research offers a proof of principle -- that it is possible to create sperm cells, even if they are not fully viable yet, using his technique. And it is the process of how sperm forms, not the sperm themselves, that can show how a variety of factors may contribute to infertility.

"With those techniques, we can then model the individual situation of the patient and then see.. why those men are infertile," Nayernia said. "Once we have this factor -- it could be genetic, it could be environmental -- we will be able to offer the proper clinical application."

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