Iranian researchers in collaboration with their Canadian colleagues managed to create early sperm cells, called primordial germ cells (PGCs), from the skin of individuals, even infertile people.
"For the first time in the world, Iranian and Canadian scientists succeeded in creating PGC from the skin of an infertile person," Karim Nayernia, an Iranian geneticist, told FNA on Sunday.
The project was conducted by Iranian scientists in cooperation with their counterparts in Georgia University and Canadian researchers, he said.
Nayernia reiterated that 17 Iranian students in different universities of the country are now working on the technology to produce PGC from skin cells and an essay has been written on the issue.
Earlier a research team from Kyoto University succeeded in turning mouse embryonic stem cells into early sperm cells. When these were transplanted into infertile mice, the animal played "host" as the stem cells developed into normal-looking sperm.
These eggs were then transplanted into a female mouse and healthy offspring were born who grew into fertile male and female adult mice.
The team suggested that the same procedure could be carried out using stem cells derived from adult skin cells.
But, Nayernia said the new discovery was the result of an earlier research project that he and his colleagues had conducted on mice.
Nayernia said he and his colleagues had "started reprogramming mouse stem cells to create sperm cells in research projects in Germany, England and Canada 10 years ago", adding that the research project yielded fully successful results, "and we could for the first time produce mouse sperm in laboratory" then.