Space-Stored Mouse Sperm Creates Healthy Pups

Freeze-dried mouse sperm stored in the near-weightless and radiation-bombarded environment of the International Space Station was used to create healthy baby mice, according to Japanese scientists.

They said this shows that transporting the seeds of life away from Earth is feasible, and that sperm banks could even be created on the Moon as a back-up for Earth disasters, BBC News reported.

The freeze-dried sperm was stored on the space station for nine months before being sent back down to Earth and thawed at room temperature. The sperms' DNA was slightly damaged, but was still able to fertilize eggs and lead to the birth of healthy pups.

Compared to a control group of conventional pups, the "space pups" had only slight differences in their genetic code and grew to adulthood. Some were allowed to mate and become parents themselves, BBC News reported.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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