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“Older” sperm could produce healthier offspring

Credits: Pixabay

Experiments carried out by British scientists on zebrafish could alter artificial insemination methods currently used for humans. Researchers have been able to create fish with better reproductive and longevity characteristics by using “old” sperm during fertilization.

A revealing study

Research carried out by a team of scientists from the University of East-Anglia looking at the reproduction of zebrafish was published in the journal Evolution Letters on the 14 February 2019.  According to researchers, during male ejaculation half of the generated spermatozoid stop their course after 25 seconds while the other half stay vigorous for a minute.

Researchers formed two group of spermatozoids to obtain these results.  In the first group, eggs were immediately added. In the second, the sperm were then mixed with water after 25 seconds, giving the most vigorous and “oldest” sperm a great changer of fertilization. After fertilization, the newborn fish were followed for two years. It turns out that those from older sperm lived longer, but most importantly, produced better quality sperm themselves.

Credits: Pixabay

Could artificial insemination methods change?

Artificial insemination is a procedure that has been available for a long time now.  However, the main author of this study Simone Immler believes that until today we thought that “selection at the sperm stage had little influence on the offspring produced.

The researcher stated that “The sperm within an ejaculate vary not only in their shape and performance, but also in the genetic material that each of them carries.”  She believes that their new research shows that there are huge differences between sperm and how the difference between  the sperm selected can alter the resulting offspring. .

Researchers must now try to see if it is possible to confirm their conclusions with humans. If this is the case, this could influence current artificial insemination procedures. If their conclusions are developed further this could also influence artificial insemination in the breeding of livestock.

In addition, in 2017, an Australian start-up developed a new method for selecting preimplantation human embryos. This method based on both artificial intelligence and deep learning was intended to equip clinics to more efficiently sort embryos from in vitro fertilization before implantation.

Sources : EurekAlert ! – Futura Sciences

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