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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency:JAXA
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To investigate the possibility of preserving genetic resources in space

Effect of space environment on mammalian reproduction (Space Pup experiment)


Easy-to-understand lesson on space experiments: Space Pup experiment
Pikaru, a member of the investigation team for the space experiments, interviews the Doctor to closely analyze the Space Pup experiment.
Space experiment preparation report
On the ground, the Principal Investigator, research group members, and JAXA’s staff are making steady preparations for the space experiment. Recent developments are posted with pictures.

Although many studies on mammalian reproduction under microgravity conditions in space have been attempted with mice so far, few results have been obtained. In this experiment, as a first step to investigate mammalian reproduction in space, mouse spermatozoa will be preserved for a long period of time in space, exposed to microgravity and cosmic radiation, returned to Earth, and used to produce offspring by external fertilization.
We will examine whether mammalian germ cells can be preserved in space for a long period of time, to determine whether or not mammals, including human beings, can thrive in space.
Outline of the Experiment
Spermatozoa freeze-dried on the ground will be sent to space, stored in a freezer for a certain period of time, returned to the ground, and used for fertilization under a microscope. The space sperm will also be examined for fertility, effects of radiation, DNA repair rate, normalcy of early development, and most importantly, the birth rate of mouse pups.
This is the Point!
Results of this experiment will be applied to projects for conservation of genetic resources in various species; to the breeding of high-quality livestock, which is an important theme in thremmatology and animal husbandry; conservation of species of profitable experimental animals; and conservation of germ cells.

This experiment started in August 2013, after delivery of sample cases to the International Space Station (ISS) by KOUNOTORI4, the fourth H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV4).

Principal Investigator (PI)
Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Yamanashi
Area of Research: Applied animal sciences (research on somatic cell cloning technology)

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