Spermatogenesis is the process by which spermatogonial stem cells divide and differentiate to produce sperm. In vitro sperm production has been difficult to achieve because of the lack of a culture system to maintain viable spermatogonia for long periods of time. Here we report the in vitro generation of spermatocytes and spermatids from telomerase-immortalized mouse type A spermatogonial cells in the presence of stem cell factor. This differentiation can occur in the absence of supportive cells. The immortalized spermatogonial cell line may serve as a powerful tool in elucidating the molecular mechanisms of spermatogenesis. Furthermore, through genomic modification and transplantation techniques, this male germ cell line may be used to generate transgenic mice and to develop germ cell gene therapy.
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