Japanese researchers have bred a large number of mice by using spermatozoa exposed to high levels of cosmic radiation for six years.
On the International Space Station (ISS), the babies of 168 special breed of mice have been successfully bred after a rigorous process. On the ISS, the sperms of mice were kept in freeze-dried farms for six years. After this these sperms were brought to the earth and rehydrated. As a result, a large number of rat babies were produced. The thing to note here is that the effect of radiation has not been seen on them and they are free from all genetic defects.
Japanese researchers have bred a large number of mice by using spermatozoa exposed to high levels of cosmic radiation for six years. All these rats are completely healthy. The researchers’ study has been published in ‘Science Advance’ on Friday. Teruhiko Wakayama, a developmental biologist and lead author of the study, said that mice born with sperm stored in space showed slight differences compared to mice born with sperm stored on Earth.
Sperm sent to ISS in three boxes
Teruhiko Wakayama said that all babies of rats are normal. When researchers tested their genes, any abnormalities were found in it. In 2013, Wakayama and his colleagues at the University of Yamanashi in Japan sent three boxes to the ISS for a longer study. Each box contained 48 vials, in which the spermatozoa of the rats were filled. They wanted to determine whether DNA would be damaged by radiation in space. Or whether it causes mutation or not.
Boxes returned from ISS in three phases
The first batch of these boxes were dispatched nine months later. Then the second batch came to earth after two years. After this the third batch returned to earth after six years. The babies of hundreds of rats were born through the sperm present in these boxes. Freeze-dried spermatozoa were chosen because it can be preserved at room temperature rather than in the freezer. At the same time, the vials that were kept in the box were much smaller and lighter in size, which also reduced the cost of the process. On the other hand, when these rats grew up, they underwent a process of random fertilization. From this the next generation was also born normally.
What would be the benefit to humans?
In the future, when humans have to measure the depths of space or they have to make someone else their home, then the results of this study are going to be useful. It is believed that if the sperms of rats can survive radiation in space, then the same can happen to humans. In such a situation, if humans have to settle on another planet, then the help of sperms stored in this way can be taken. At the same time, even when the existence of human civilization is under threat, the species can be saved from extinction through stored sperms.
Also read: The growing crisis on the Antarctic glacier, the layer of ice protecting it from melting is disappearing rapidly