A gene has been found that may allow scientists to halt sperm production. Researchers at the Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh discovered the gene, called Katnal1, that allows sperm to mature in the testes while studying male infertility. When mice were genetically altered so that they did not carry the Katnal1 gene, they became infertile. The study was published in the May 24th issue of PLoS Genetics.
A few aspects of this discovery are exciting to scientists. First, it could lead to a non-hormonal method of birth control for men, which is preferable because hormonal methods tend to cause side effects.
Second, it would be reversible. “Katnal1 only affects sperm cells in the later stages of development, so it would not hinder the early stages of sperm production and the overall ability to produce sperm,” said study author Dr. Lee Smith.
And third, this discovery of this gene may help scientists better understand male infertility. As Smith told Live Science, ”The irony is that it is the fact that these men don’t have children that makes standard family-pedigree analysis very challenging, and as such it has historically been extremely difficult to identify genetic causes of specific cases of male infertility.”
Dr. Smith estimates that a form of male contraception, what he calls “a genetic vasectomy”, could be available in just 5-10 years.
The views, opinions and information expressed in articles and blog posts published on imperfectparent.com and all subdomains are those of the authors alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Imperfect Parent or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of any entity of, or affiliated with, Imperfect Parent. The Imperfect Parent
is designed for entertainment
purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for medical, health,
legal, or financial advice from a professional.
of material from any of Imperfect Parent's pages without written
permission is strictly prohibited.