Home > Medical, Nature, Research, Science, Space, Technology > Making babies in Space is not so easy

Making babies in Space is not so easy

September 2, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

“Among the animals that have been bred in space are frogs, salamanders, sea urchins — who didn’t do so well — and fish. (Birds and bees are, understandably if unfortunately, not on the list.)

Rather less research, however, has been done on mammalian reproduction in space, and there’s reason to think the potential effects of low gravity would be pronounced in mammals, whose embryonic development is more complicated and sensitive than other animals.

To test these effects, the researchers artificially fertilized mouse eggs with sperm that had been stored inside a three-dimensional clinostat, a machine that mimics weightlessness by rotating objects in such a way that the effects of gravity are spread in every direction.

Fertilization took place normally, suggesting that microgravity hadn’t harmed the sperm. But as the embryos continued to develop inside the clinostat, many developed problems. Their cells had trouble dividing and maturing.”

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