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Frozen ‘space sperm’ passes fertility test


Healthy baby mice have been born using freeze-dried sperm stored in the near-weightless environment of space.

The Japanese team behind the gravity-breaking experiment on the International Space Station (ISS) say it shows that transporting the seeds of life away from Earth is feasible.

On the ISS, radiation is more than 100 times higher than on Earth. The average daily dose of 0.5mSv from the cosmic rays is enough to damage the DNA code inside living cells.  The freeze-dried mouse sperm samples were stored on the space station for nine months before being sent back down to Earth and thawed at room temperature.

Although sperm DNA was slightly damaged by the trip, it still did the job of fertilising mouse eggs and creating apparently healthy “space pups”.

But that still leaves the massive question of whether mammals, including us humans, can permanently live and procreate in space.

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