Wednesday, May 24, 2017

If you can think of a better way to breed mice...

These scientists know they could
just buy mice at a pet store, right?
The world is a pretty bleak place right now. There's violence, divisiveness in politics and for reasons beyond knowing, someone is making a sequel to Top Gun. But our fate, as a species, might not be sealed. Look at this. Not going to click? Fine, I'll sum up: Japanese scientists were able to preserve mouse sperm, frozen, aboard the International Space Station for 288 days, return it to Earth and then use it to produce healthy mice finally solving one of science's oldest mysteries. Namely, what if someone did that thing I just described.

Earlier, Abba-based experiments
proved less than effective.
So like, how come? For science of course. And because the future of humanity might one day hinge upon mouse sperm. It turns out that once you leave the Earth's atmosphere, human cells, most crucially those involved in reproduction, are bombarded with one hundred times more radiation than on the surface. And since such damage is more likely to result in birth defects rather than say, stretchy limbs or the power of invisibility, scientists are researching ways around the problem. Hence the frozen mouse spunk.

"Oh yeah!"
-Professor Randy Savage,
from the University of Pain
According to Teruhiko Wakayama from the University of Yamanashi, one of the scientist involved in the project, the successful outcome of this experiment might someday lead to advances making it possible for humans to not only reproduce in space, but also to raise livestock up there:

"If humans live in space for a long time then we will want to eat beefsteak."

-Professor Wakayama, who I 
guess hasn't heard of beef jerky

"Moon Vault, this is Commander Jenkins,
I'm here to pick up...The Right Stuff. 

Get it? Like the movie? But with sperm?"
But the possibilities don't end with space babies and orbital meat, the ability to store genetic samples off-planet might also lead to something like the Doomsday Vault in Norway where seeds (and now water) are kept just in case we fuck up the environment even worse than we already have. According to Wakayama, sperm could even be preserved indefinitely under the surface of the Moon and then, in the event of some kind of catastrophe on Earth, the survivors could simply go there and retrieve samples to repopulate the species.

"Ok, no need to panic, I'll just fashion a
crude rocket from the burnt out wreckage..."
You know, assuming the survivors of whatever disaster just knocked civilization back to the stone age have access to a spaceship capable of reaching to Moon...ok, it's not a perfect plan, but still, science! Anyway, Professor Wakayama has moved on to trying to clone mice from mice shit:

"We are now trying to make clones from mouse feces, but so far, no success."

-Teruhiko Wakayama, not
one to rest on his laurels

Wow...the practical applications are unimaginable. As in, one can't possibly imagine what he's going to do with this technology. You know, I'm not super-clear on the line between science and mad-science, but I'm wondering if Professor Wakayama and his mouse shit clones from the moon isn't maybe approaching it...
"They said I was mad, Mad! I'll show them, I'll show them all!"
-Professor Wakayama from his
secret underground laboratory

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