Hope has emerged for infertile men as scientists at Newcastle University have understood the importance of a gene in regulating the production of fully-functioning sperm.
For the first time, experts have identified the role of gene, RBMXL2, which is very similar to a possible gene found on the Y chromosome found only in men. This provided a model for the team to manipulate as the Y chromosome itself is very difficult to analyze.
The study, published in eLife, sheds light on why some men may be infertile as RBMXL2 has been shown to be essential to make sperm.
Faulty gene process
Scientists found that deleting the RBMXL2 gene from chromosome 11 blocked sperm production and this paves the way for further exciting research in this area.Professor David Elliott, at the Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University, led the 10-year international study, which involved experts from America, Edinburgh and mainland Europe.
He said, “Male infertility is a poorly understood topic, and this study helps us to understand why some men might become infertile. This is important since many couples suffer from infertility and it can cause psychological stress, and also have economic consequences in some countries as it can affect care in later life.”