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New designer sperm could alter future of human medicine

Category: DNA, Paternity and Genetic testing

The future of genetic testing could be forever changed following a report that was recently published in The FASEB Journal. Researchers at The Royal Veterinary College in North Mymms, England, have successfully inserted new genes into mice, which resulted in three generations of transgenic animals and an advancement in biology and medicine.

The findings of the lab tests were massive, as study author Anil Chandrashekran, Ph.D., and his colleagues from the Department of Veterinary Clinical Services were able to alter the genes through viral vectors. Injecting a green fluorescent protein into the male germ line, the team found that 42 percent of the subjects showed the transgenic gene passed down to the third generation. The results could lead to the elimination of faulty genes and disorders in humans, as well as organ regeneration and new genetic markers.

"Transgenic technology is a most important tool for researching all kinds of diseases in humans and animals, and for understanding crucial problems in biology," said Chandrashekran.

Going forward in medicine
The possibilities opened up by the new study are tremendous and have strong ties to the future of medicine. Damaged or defective genes could be replaced with newer, functioning genes and eliminate hereditary afflictions.

"Using modified sperm to insert genetic material has the potential to be a major breakthrough not only in future research, but also in human medicine," said the editor-in-chief of FASEB​, Gerald Weissmann, M.D. "It facilitates the development of transgenic animal models, and may lead to therapeutic benefits for people as well."

The development of designer sperm could lead to specific genetic attributes being passed on to offspring. Additionally, altering sperm could fuel improvements in preventative medicine, cures for diseases and blood testing.

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