Montreal researchers say they have found a breakthrough when it comes to the difficulties older people can face in conceiving a child.
Researchers at the Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CR-CHUM) laboratory have identified small chromosomes that are ‘slower’ than others and are working to improve the quality of eggs for women trying to become pregnant.
It’s a common problem: nearly one in six Canadian couples is affected by infertility. This number has doubled since the 1980s, said the CHUM.
One of the causes of female infertility has to do with an abnormality in eggs that causes them to have an abnormal number of chromosomes. This is becoming more and more common as women age. While this fact is well known, many researchers have been trying to find solutions.
CR-CHUM scientists have recently made discoveries on this front, as published in the journal `Developmental Cell.’
Greg FitzHarris, a researcher at the CR-CHUM specializing in female infertility research, and Aleksandar Mihajlovic, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab and lead author of the study, reveal that certain chromosomes in mouse eggs are slower to move during meiosis, a crucial phase of cell division that occurs just before the eggs are fertilized.
Because they are slower, FitzHarris called them ‘lagging chromosomes.’ Arriving late at their destination, they contribute to the formation of cells with an abnormal number of chromosomes.
This abnormality is one of the major causes of infertility and explains, in part, why older women have difficulty becoming pregnant and carrying a pregnancy to term. The discovery of these ‘lagging chromosomes’ is a ‘major’ finding of their work, said the researcher.
The second part is a successful laboratory experiment: the team tried to inject a chemical substance to extend the period when cell division occurs. This allows more time for the ‘latecomers’ to arrive on time where they are expected.
The eggs are less likely to have an abnormal number of chromosomes, FitzHarris, who is also a professor at the University of Montreal (UdeM) in the departments of obstetrics and gynecology and pathology and cell biology, explained in an interview.
“It’s promising because we believe this is the first time that eggs from older females, who were more likely to have an abnormal number of chromosomes, have avoided that,” he said.
But this still needs to be tested on humans, the researcher cautioned, because his team had to do their work on mice.
It’s difficult, if not impossible, for researchers to obtain eggs from women who are struggling to conceive a child, because those women really need them.
“There are not many circumstances where it would be appropriate to take their eggs for scientific experiments,” he said. In fertility clinics, all the eggs are used.
This work, still in the basic research stage, is nevertheless laying a solid foundation for future experiments and for finding solutions to infertility.
The researchers believe that their findings could eventually be used clinically to increase the performance of eggs used in in vitro fertilization, to select eggs with the highest chance of success and also to prevent eggs from having an abnormal number of chromosomes.
Funding for the study was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé and the Fondation Jean-Louis Lévesque.
– This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Aug. 24, 2021.
SpaceX’s Inspiration4 Crew Shares Photos of Earth from Space – Beebom
If you are a space enthusiast like myself, I’m sure you love the mesmerizing views of the Earth from space shared by astronauts. Having said that, chances are you will love the breathtaking pictures recently shared by the astronauts in SpaceX’s Inspiration4 spacecraft, which took off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on September 15. It safely returned to Earth today.
The seven-seater SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft was recently launched from the Kennedy space center. Following the launch, astronauts from the Inspiration4 spacecraft shared four orbital photos of the Earth. You can check out the tweet right below.
The photos were taken from the cupola of the spacecraft, which is a dome-shaped, transparent viewing area that allows astronauts to get a unique glimpse of our planet from space. Not just that, SpaceX Inspiration4’s astronauts also shared a short video showing the sunset. You can check it out right here:
The astronauts include the Shift4 Payments CEO and founder Jared Isaacman, who financed the space mission and is currently the acting commander of the spacecraft, Air Force veteran Christopher Sembroski, physician assistant Hayley Arceneaux, and geoscientist Dr. Sian Proctor.
Now, it is worth mentioning that SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft can carry seven people onboard. However, the Inspiration4 mission only includes four astronauts aboard the spacecraft. As per reports, following the launch, the Inspiration4 spacecraft has now completed 15 orbits around Earth and is expected to complete a full orbit of the Earth every 90 minutes. If you want to monitor the progress of the flight, you can go to SpaceX’s official tracking website.
More space tourism to come after Inspiration4 crew returns from successful mission | Watch News Videos Online – Globalnews.ca
World's first space tourists splash down in their SpaceX capsule after three days in orbit – Yahoo Eurosport UK
Four space tourists safely splashed down in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida on Saturday, ending their trailblazing trip into orbit.
Their SpaceX capsule parachuted into the ocean just before sunset, not far from where their chartered flight began three days earlier.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk took them on as the company’s first rocket-riding tourists.
The fully automated Dragon capsule reached an unusually high altitude of miles 585km after Wednesday night’s liftoff, that’s 160km above the International Space Station.
The passengers were able to take in views of Earth through a big bubble-shaped window added to the top of the capsule.
For more on this story, watch the full report in the media player above.
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