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Scientists have come up with a way to send viable mouse sperm on postcards

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A mouse born using sperm that was mailed in an envelope

University of Yamanashi Daio Ito

An easy way to transfer sperm by mail can be found in scientific research and livestock applications.

Sperm are often shipped domestically and internationally, but glass vials commonly used for shipping can break during shipping.

Team led by Daio Ito The University of Yamanashi, Japan, has devised a way to provide sperm that eliminates the risk of sample loss. This method puts the sperm on a piece of paper and pops it into the post.

“Until now, sending mouse sperm to other researchers required a frozen environment such as liquid nitrogen or a freezer,” says Ito. “The continuous supply of liquid nitrogen and electricity needed for transportation is not only costly to maintain, but all sperm melt and become unavailable in the event of road disruptions or power outages caused by earthquakes.”

Researchers could have considered another method, freeze-drying the sperm on the surface and sending it by standard mail. After testing several materials such as filter paper and vinyl sheets, the team found that medicine wrapping paper, a type of paper used to hold samples weighed in scientific analysis, was the best option. did. Mouse sperm are lyophilized on paper and can survive later recovery. Thousands of mouse sperm samples can be stored in a single book this way. This is what researchers call a “sperm book.”

Researchers lyophilized to test the method Mouse sperm After putting it in a medicine wrapping paper, sandwich the paper with a plastic sheet, put it in an envelope, or attach it to a postcard and send it to the Japanese post office.

After taking a sample of 200 kg from the University of Tokyo to Yamanashi University over a two-day period, the researchers were able to use sperm to make healthy mice.

The simplicity of this delivery method means that there is potential for misuse, including the illegal transport of genetic material.This means that new regulations need to be considered, says Ito – that team. Previously sent mouse sperm into space..

Also, it is unlikely that the new method will be used by humans. Childbirth treatment,To tell Ryosuke Kaneko At Osaka University in Japan, which was not involved in the analysis.

“Given that assisted reproductive technology in humans may increase the risk of some diseases in the later years of offspring, care must be taken when applying current results to the preservation of human sperm,” Kaneko said. Says. “But this study raises the interesting idea that human sperm can be stored and transported at a lower cost, safer, more space-saving, and easier.”

Journal reference: iScience, DOI: 10.1016 / j.isci.2021.102815

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Scientists have come up with a way to send viable mouse sperm on postcards

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