Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















DRAGON SPACE
Are human space babies conceivable?
by Yu Fei for Xinhua News
Beijing (XNA) Apr 23, 2017


"We have compared the in-vitro cultured cells with in-vivo cells, and found they have many similar characteristics. But we can only call the in-vitro ones sperm-like cells or egg-like cells, because we still can't prove they are exactly the same until we conduct functional experiments," Kee says.

As astronauts continue to break records for time spent in space and manned Mars exploration is under discussion, scientists in China have begun a groundbreaking study to determine if humans can reproduce in space.

Scientists will for the first time conduct an experiment to induce the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into germ cells on China's first cargo spacecraft, Tianzhou-1.

The experiment aims to study the effects of the space environment on human reproduction, beginning with the study of microgravity on human stem cells and germ cells, says Kehkooi Kee, lead researcher on the project.

Kee, a Malaysia Chinese professor at China's prestigious Tsinghua University, says the unprecedented experiment will study the basic development and maturation of germ cells in the micro-gravity environment, and the developmental potential of human embryonic stem cells.

The research is expected to provide a theoretical basis and technical support to solve the possible problems of human reproduction caused by the space environment, Kee said.

"It's an important experiment because it is the first step towards directly understanding human reproduction during space exploration," he says.

What kind of difficulties could people face by having children in space?

Experts say that in the known space environment, micro-gravity, radiation and magnetic fields could have a great impact on human reproduction. Among these factors, micro-gravity could be the largest challenge.

At the cellular level, micro-gravity might affect cell division or polarity. The cells of living organisms contain many organic molecules. These molecules and cells are evolved to function under the earth gravitational force. But scientists are still not clear how micro-gravity could affect the physical force governing the molecular interactions and developments of the cells, says Kee.

The United States, Russia and Europe have conducted many space experiments to examine if micro-gravity is harmful to astronauts, especially the effects on the muscle and bones. However, microgravity effect on human reproductive capacity has been rarely studied.

Previous research in this area mainly focused on monitoring the reproductive hormone levels of astronauts. Due to the ethical and physical constraints, it has been very difficult to directly obtain and study their germ cells.

"If we aim to directly study human reproductive biology in space, we need to build an in-vitro platform to study the germ cells. So we chose to use human embryonic stem cells to differentiate into germ cells," says Kee.

In 2009, he and his colleagues used human embryonic stem cells to create human primordial germ cells and sperm-like cells for the first time. They published their research in the academic journal Nature.

Currently, the team has successfully obtained egg-like cells from human embryonic stem cells and will be publishing this novel finding soon.

Human embryonic stem cells can be induced into primordial germ cells and further differentiate into sperm-like or egg-like cells. But differentiating embryonic stem cells into sperm-like or egg-like cells is very difficult because they require more developmental steps and more cellular factors, says Kee.

Although other scientists have conducted similar experiments, none has made human germ cells differentiate into such a mature state as Kee's team has.

"We have compared the in-vitro cultured cells with in-vivo cells, and found they have many similar characteristics. But we can only call the in-vitro ones sperm-like cells or egg-like cells, because we still can't prove they are exactly the same until we conduct functional experiments," Kee says.

So far, all such experiments have been conducted on the ground, so scientists do not know whether micro-gravity will affect the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells and the formation of germ cells.

"In the experiments on the ground, it usually takes six days to culture and obtain primordial germ cells, and about two weeks to form sperm-like or egg-like cells," says Kee.

"The experiment on Tianzhou-1 will last 30 days. To what extent the human embryonic stem cell can differentiate in space is still unknown. Will the process be delayed? If so, by how much?" asks Kee, adding they expect to see at least the first stage of the primordial germ cells appear.

Scientists on the ground will remotely control the research equipment to change the cell-culture medium to induce the human embryonic stem cells to differentiate into germ cells. Images of the cells under the microscope will be transmitted to earth.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

DRAGON SPACE
China's first cargo spacecraft docks with space lab
Beijing (AFP) April 22, 2017
China's first cargo spacecraft, Tianzhou-1, successfully completed docking with an orbiting space lab on Saturday, the Beijing Aerospace Control Center said. The Tianzhou-1 was launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province Thursday evening and began to approach the space lab, Tiangong-2, Saturday morning. It made first contact with the space lab at 12:16 pm on Saturda ... read more

Related Links
China National Space Administration
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

DRAGON SPACE
Lunar, Martian Greenhouses Designed to Mimic Those on Earth

NASA spacesuits over budget, tight on timeline: audit

'Better you than me,' Trump tells record-breaking astronaut

Cygnus docks with ISS, delivering 28 Cubesats from multiple customers

DRAGON SPACE
New Russian Medium-Class Carrier Rocket Could Compete With SpaceX's Falcon

RSC Energia, Boeing Hammer Out a Deal on Sea Launch Project

India seeks status as a major space power with more satellite launches

India to Launch Carrier Rocket With Higher Payload Capacity in May

DRAGON SPACE
SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

Danish Martian Experts Get Their Hands on a Piece of 'Black Beauty'

New Look at 2004's Martian Hole-in-One Site

Researchers Produce Detailed Map of Potential Mars Rover Landing Site

DRAGON SPACE
China courts international coalition set up to promote space cooperation

Commentary: Innovation drives China's space exploration

Macao marks 2nd China Space Day with astronaut sharing space experience

China's Long March-5 Y2 carrier rocket leaves for launch site

DRAGON SPACE
ESA boosting its Argentine link with deep space

Arianespace, Intelsat and SKY Perfect JSAT sign a new Launch Services Agreement, for Horizons 3e

Airbus and Intelsat team up for more capacity

Commercial Space Operators To Canada: "We're Here, and We can Help"

DRAGON SPACE
Man-Made Space Junk Puts Astronauts, Operational Spacecraft in Serious Danger

Engineering technique is damaging materials research reveals

Finding order and structure in the atomic chaos where materials meet

Lockheed Martin secures $1.6 billion contract for counterfire radars

DRAGON SPACE
Rocky super-earth found in habitable zone of small red star

Lack of Oxygen Not a Showstopper For Life

Detecting Life in the Driest Place on Earth

In experiments on Earth, testing possible building blocks of alien life

DRAGON SPACE
ALMA investigates 'DeeDee,' a distant, dim member of our solar system

Nap Time for New Horizons

Hubble spots auroras on Uranus

Cold' Great Spot discovered on Jupiter




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement