New Male Contraceptives Could Rely on Gene Essential for Sperm Development
May 28, 2012 9:15 AM
comment(s) - last by
Discovery could lead to new male contraceptive and treatment for infertility
Scientists have discovered a gene that plays a key role in the development of sperm for males. The discovery of this gene could lead to new types of male contraceptives that don't rely on disrupting the production of hormones such as testosterone. Contraceptives that disrupt hormone production can lead to side effects, including irritability, mood swings, and acne.
The gene the scientists have discovered is called Katnal1 and the researchers say it is critical to enable sperm maturation in the testicles. The scientists believe that regulating the Katnal1 gene in the testes could prevent sperm from maturing completely leaving them ineffective without having to change hormone levels. The scientists also believe that the discovery of the Katnal1 gene could be the key in helping to treat male infertility.
Dr. Lee Smith, Reader in Genetic Endocrinology at the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Reproductive Health, explained, "If we can find a way to target this gene in the testes, we could potentially develop a non-hormonal contraceptive.
"The important thing is that the effects of such a drug would be reversible because 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."
The researchers genetically modified male mice to remove the Katnal1 gene. The removal of that gene made the male mice infertile. Further investigation into what made the male mice infertile lead to the discovery of gene in question.
The researchers found that Katnal1 is needed to regulate the scaffolding structures known as microtubules that form part of the cells that support and provide nutrients to developing sperm. Breaking down and rebuilding the microtubules is what enable sperm cells to move within the testes as they mature and Katnal1 is the essential controller for the process.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Which came first...
5/29/2012 12:47:16 AM
Well, they made the mouse phenotype by random mutation, so they didn't realize it was the Katnal1 gene until they created the line with male infertility. They then sequenced that line until they found the gene responsible for the phenotype. Finally once they find the gene, they can run experiments to figure out the function of that gene.
"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Cool Science Video: This is What a McDonald's Burger Looks Like in Your Stomach
April 7, 2015, 1:43 PM
Most Popular Articles
Exclusive: If Intel and Micron's "Xpoint" is 3D Phase Change Memory, Boy Did They Patent It
July 29, 2015, 10:52 PM
Quick Note: Apple Watch to Get Brick and Mortar Boost From Best Buy
July 27, 2015, 3:00 PM
As iPad Sales Wane and Watch Flops, iPhone Saves Apple's Profit With Its Heroics
July 22, 2015, 6:13 PM
Editorial: Reddit Allows Itself to be Hijacked as a Hate Platform For Racist Bigots
July 21, 2015, 6:32 PM
Microsoft July 29 Windows 10 Launch: Freebies, Rollout, and What's Next
July 21, 2015, 2:40 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information