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Doctors cultivate primitive cells into fertile ones.

KITAKYUSHU, Japan, Feb. 2 Kyodo

Doctors in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, said Friday they have succeeded in cultivating primary-stage cells into ones capable of fertilizing an egg, the first doctors in Japan to do so.

If applied in clinical treatments, the technique could help infertile men become fathers, said doctors at St. Mother Hospital in the southwestern Japanese city.

The doctors said they cultured primary spermatocytes in a laboratory, and then induced cell meiosis. The spermatocytes underwent meiosis, or cell division, twice, and became round spermatids.

''The cells divided without chromosomal disruption,'' said hospital chief Atsushi Tanaka.

Tanaka said that last year, the doctors cultivated 216 primary spermatocytes from an infertile patient in a container with human skin cells.

The spermatocytes were treated with an amino acid mixture, and twice underwent meiosis. Ten of the 216 became round spermatids.

Doctors in other countries report successful pregnancies after women have been fertilized with artificially cultured spermatids, but such medical practices are not allowed in Japan, as they have not been deemed safe.
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Publication:Japan Science Scan
Date:Feb 5, 2001
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