A Good Year for Sperm

You know about what happened to oil prices last year. And you know about the Paris and San Bernardino shootings. There was also the marriage equality ruling by the Supreme Court and the Baltimore protests. All newsworthy by any measure. But did you know that it was also a big year for sperm?

  • What’s in the head of these wigglers is a big source of human evolution and may be the key to autism, schizophrenia and other issues in kids.
  • Bionic sperm has arrived. German scientists developed “spermbot,” (? derived from robot) a metal-fence, micromotor that wraps around the sperm tail, and can help slow-swimming sperm find its egg.
  • Ok it’s not sperm, but way too cool to let this go: The first successful penis transplant from one man to another performed. And it worked! A veritable Frankenpenis.
  • Sperm gene therapy. Take a skin cell from a genetically infertile man and turn it into a stem cell. Then, add back a missing gene from the Y chromosome and see if you can turn that stem cell into a sperm precursor cell. The stuff of dreams? Hardly, we got pretty close to doing this this year.
  • Making new “junk.” Dr. Anthony Atala, a world-class regenerative medicine guru, has grown miniature human testicle “organoids” to one-day help injured soldiers.
  • Scientists from Hawaii (imagine the view from the lab!) showed us that only 2 little genes are needed on from the mouse Y chromosome to make sperm. Maybe men aren’t complicated as we thought!

For better or worse, the year 2015 has come and gone. In my little corner of the world, it was a BIG year for sperm, those silent, steadfast, microscopic, manic soldiers of our fortune.