Use of Ficoll–sodium metrizoate density gradient to separate human X- and Y-bearing spermatozoa


SEVERAL claims have been made about the successful separation of Y-bearing spermatozoa in the past1. The most recent claim by Ericsson et al.2 has been disputed3,4. We have attempted to develop a method for separating human X- and Y-bearing spermatozoa, without affecting the motility or the variability of these vital cells. We report here a successful separation of human X- and Y-bearing spermatozoa using a two-step procedure with Ficoll–Sodium metrizoate density gradient. The motility and viability of enriched fractions of spermatozoa was found to be slightly reduced. The reduction was mainly due to centrifugation and not the density gradient. The ability to predetermine the sex of the offspring before conception would have great clinical and sociological significance5.

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SHASTRY, P., HEGDE, U. & RAO, S. Use of Ficoll–sodium metrizoate density gradient to separate human X- and Y-bearing spermatozoa. Nature 269, 58–60 (1977).

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