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Rabbit born via frozen sperm, a first

STORRS, Conn., March 8 (UPI) -- University of Connecticut researchers have produced a live rabbit by using "dead" freeze-dried sperm -- the first such birth of a mammal other than a mouse.

The researchers said the rabbit pup was normal when born, but its mother did not care for it and it soon died.

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Ryuzo Yanagimachi, director of the Institute for Biogenesis Research in the university's John Burns School of Medicine said mother rabbits frequently neglect single birth pups to save themselves for litters with multiple births.

Yanagimachi told the Honolulu Star Bulletin the similarity between rabbit sperm and human sperm suggests freeze-drying could be used for human sperm.

All species except rodents have a centrosome, a specialized part of a cell essential for cell division, in the eggs and sperm, Yanagimachi said.

Rabbit sperm is more difficult to freeze-dry than mouse sperm because the centrosome was believed to be damaged in the process.

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