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Fertility hope for men with extra chromosomes

Friday August 18th, 2017

A new technique has offered hope of helping men with extra chromosomes have healthy children, according to British scientists.

So far the technique has successfully been used on laboratory mice - although the experiments have also identified serious side-effects, the researchers at the Frances Crick Institute, London, say.

Laboratory studies suggest it may also work for men with Klinefelter syndrome - with XXY chromosomes - and also for those with XYY chromosomes.

The technique involves using ear tissue to generate stem cells, the researchers reported in Science.

Researchers developing this process noticed that some of the laboratory-created stems cells shed the extra chromosome. However the mouse studies also identified a high risk of tumours developing as a result of the process.

They were able successfully to "guide" these healthy stem cells into becoming sperm. So far the laboratory work has shown that stem cells can be generated from men with Klinefelter syndrome without the extra X chromosome.

Researcher Takayuki Hirota said: "Our approach allowed us to create offspring from sterile XXY and XYY mice. It would be interesting to see whether the same approach could one day be used as a fertility treatment for men with three sex chromosomes."

Fellow researcher James Turner said: "In our mouse experiments we have to inject cells that have the potential to become sperm back into the testes to help them finish developing. But we found that this caused tumours in some of the mouse recipients.

"So reducing the risk of tumour formation or discovering a way to produce mature sperm in a test tube will have to be developed before we can even consider this in humans."

Science 17 August 2017

Tags: Childbirth and Pregnancy | Genetics | Men's Health | UK News

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