China to send pig sperm to space

China will take semen from pedigree pigs on its second manned spacecraft, Shenzhou VI, to study whether exposure to space alters the genetic make-up of the sperm, in hope of producing pork of better quality

About 14 grams of pig sperm will be taken into space in October this year. Under the effect of microgravity, high radiation and strong magnetic field, DNA of the sperm may alter, said Wang Jinyong from Chongqing Academy of Animal Husbandry Science.

After four or five days in space, the sperm will be brought back to Earth and used to fertilize pig eggs in test tubes. The DNA may change for better or for worse, and we must preserve good changes and eliminate bad ones so as to improve quality of pigs, Wang said.

This is the first time Chinese scientists conduct a sperm experiment in space, before that they have brought seeds to space. They say seeds returned from space will result in higher yield and more nutritious fruits, and many such fruits and vegetables have been put into mass production in China.

By People's Daily Online



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