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You Don't Need To Make Sperm Or Even Be Alive To Be A Father

ave been raised by the latest announcement from Severino Antinori of the International Associated Research Institute for Human Reproduction in Rome.

Antinori attracted controversy previously when he used IVF to allow a 62-year-old woman to become a mother. Now he claims to have turned sterile men into fathers by maturing their sperm inside the testes of rodents. At a conference in Venice last week, he claimed the technique had already resulted in four babies-the oldest of which is now eight months old.

Antinori reportedly collaborated with Nikolaos Sofikitis of Tottori University in Yonago, Japan, who last month announced that he had grown human sperm in mice and rats (This Week, 13 February, p 4).

Antinori could not be reached for comment, and many biologists are sceptical of his claims. But if they are true, he risks the opprobrium of reproductive specialists who argue that animal tests to show sperm develop normally if grown in another species should have been completed first. "You still need to do the safety checks," says Mark Johnson of Imperial College, London.


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Contact: Claire Bowles
claire.bowles@rbi.co.uk
44-171-331-2751
New Scientist
24-Mar-1999


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