Friday, 1 August 2008

Pulling a tooth could lead to tailor-made sperm

*note* This was written and published on my tumbl blog a few weeks ago.

Researchers in Brazil have found a unique doner for sperm - the human tooth:

Could sacrificing a tooth enable some infertile men to father children? That’s the goal of researchers in Brazil, who suggest that stem cells from human teeth can be coaxed into becoming sperm by injecting them into the testes of mice.

I told this to thesophie, and she suggested that should this be possible, she could take her own tooth, inject it into a mouses testes to produce sperm and then impregnate herself with sperm made from her own tooth, effectively being both mother and father to her own child (the mouse being nothing more than a surrogate).

Isn’t that a bit like incest but with yourself though?

Reading further along the article raised more questions however:

Irina Kerkis of the Butantan Institute, São Paulo, and her colleagues injected stem cells from the dental pulp of human teeth into the testes of live mice.

The cells seemed to migrate to the tubules where sperm usually mature and differentiate into cells resembling human sperm.

The way this was written makes me wonder if the scientists were just dicking about. Like injecting random cells and body parts into mice testes is something they do when they’re bored or just passing the time, or maybe a way to justify the funding they get: “So how are you guys getting along with all that really expensive equiptment and mice we gave you?”

“We uh, we’ve been conducting a lot of useful experiments involving stem cells - all the rage these days”

“oh really? Like what exactly? I’m just making sure that we’re not overspending or anything”

“Y’know, just stem cell stuff, it’s very important.”

This excited me even more:

However, the process was inefficient and some of the human cells fused with mouse cells – a problem that would have to be solved before the technique could be used therapeutically.

So you’re saying that can create human/mouse hybrids? Will this process work with all animals? Say I wanted to create a werewolf, could I inject my stem cells from one of my teeth into a wolfs nuts and it would give birth to a man/wolf hybrid?

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