The Future of Your Bloodline Could Depend on LED Lights and Boar Semen

The Future of Your Bloodline Could Depend on LED Lights and Boar Semen
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

A lab full of boar sperm could hold the key to perpetuating your bloodline.

In a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers in Spain sought to find out if they could make boar ejaculate stay viable, or even function and perform better, after it was exposed to LED-based red lights in a process called photo stimulation.

No, the "photo stimulation" mentioned in this case isn't what it sounds like (because these scientists, presumably, aren't seventh graders). It's a process of using light to artificially activate biological elements, like organisms and tissues.

Usually, after sperm samples were incubated below freezing for 90 minutes, the sperm dropped from around 95% viability to roughly 70% — not great if you're saving sperm for later. However, a procedure that involved 10 minutes of red-light LED regimens, 10 minutes of rest and another 10 minutes of light still retained around 90% viability. Essentially, the swimmers swam better without losing their baby-makin' qualities.

Source: YouTube

The results aren't perfect yet, and there's more work left to do. But so far, research shows liquid-stored semen worked much better after it had gone through the photo-stimulation process.

If this research moves over to humans, it could be a way to preserve semen for future insemination. 

Right now, human semen can be frozen for a long time, but the viability drops and gets a little iffy. If photo stimulating human sperm were to keep the efficacy high, not only could it mean more successful (and thus less expensive) in vitro pregnancies, it could potentially create a bizarre boutique market of historically great semen making it back into the bloodline decades from now. Say hello to the 23rd century, sons of LeBron James and Albert Einstein.

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Max Plenke

Max Plenke is a staff writer at Mic, where he covers breaking news, climate science, health and the future. His work has appeared in Esquire, GQ and Wallpaper. Send story tips to max@mic.com.

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