Healthy offspring from freeze-dried mouse spermatozoa held on the International Space Station for 9 months
OPEN Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | 24 May 2017
S Wakayama, Y Kamada, K Yamanaka, T Kohda, H Suzuki, T Shimazu, MN Tada, I Osada, A Nagamatsu, S Kamimura, H Nagatomo, E Mizutani, F Ishino, S Yano and T Wakayama
If humans ever start to live permanently in space, assisted reproductive technology using preserved spermatozoa will be important for producing offspring; however, radiation on the International Space Station (ISS) is more than 100 times stronger than that on Earth, and irradiation causes DNA damage in cells and gametes. Here we examined the effect of space radiation on freeze-dried mouse spermatozoa held on the ISS for 9 mo at -95 °C, with launch and recovery at room temperature. DNA damage to the spermatozoa and male pronuclei was slightly increased, but the fertilization and birth rates were similar to those of controls. Next-generation sequencing showed only minor genomic differences between offspring derived from space-preserved spermatozoa and controls, and all offspring grew to adulthood and had normal fertility. Thus, we demonstrate that although space radiation can damage sperm DNA, it does not affect the production of viable offspring after at least 9 mo of storage on the ISS.
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