Scientists mailed freeze-dried mouse sperm on a postcard and birthed pups on the other side, a major advance for affordable long-distance sperm transfer.
It’s always a delight to receive a thoughtful letter in the mail, but scientists in Japan have added a whole new layer to the experience by sending each other postcards containing freeze-dried mouse sperm. What’s more, the researchers were able to produce viable mouse offspring with the sperm that landed in their mailboxes after days in the post.
The unprecedented experiment could transform the way that sperm from many different species is transported, pioneering applications for “infertility treatments, livestock production, maintenance of strains of genetically modified individuals, and conservation of genetic resources, including those of endangered species,” according to a study published on iScience on Thursday.
“This is the first report in the world [to show] that freeze-dried mouse sperm can be preserved in a thin plastic sheet (0.2 millimeters) instead of conventional glass ampoules,” said Daiyu Ito, a PhD student at the University of Yamanashi who led the new study, in an email.
“We went through various trials and errors and finally succeeded,” he continued. “When we were able to develop a method of preservation of mouse sperm freeze-drying on a sheet, we thought that mouse sperm should be able to be mailed on a postcard by this method” which is the “absolute cheapest” technique ever developed to transport sperm.Continue reading… “Sperm-on-a-Postcard Breakthrough Opens Door to Massive ‘Sperm Books’”