New gene identified as a cause of male infertility

21st March, 2011

An international research collaboration - including the University of Dundee - has identified a gene responsible for one of the causes of male infertility.

The gene discovery relates to a condition known as round headed sperm, or globozoospermia, which affects a small percentage of men suffering from infertility problems.

Until now the main cause of the condition was unknown but new research involving the University of Strasbourg, Farah Hospital Amman in Jordan, and the University of Dundee has established that a genetic defect has a sterilising effect on the men’s sperm.

\'What we have established is a clear cause for this form of male infertility,\' said Professor Christopher Barratt, of the Reproductive and Developmental Biology Group in the School of Medicine at Dundee.

\'It is not a particularly common condition - around one in 12 men suffer from infertility problems and round headed sperm accounts for only a small percentage of that number. But it is important that we find causes and treatments for all forms of male infertility.

\'With this condition, now that we have identified the genetic defect and shown that it is the common cause of round headed sperm, we are able to offer successful treatments and there have been positive results in using assisted conception for families.\'

The research was sparked by the identification of a family of five brothers in Jordan who all had globozoospermia, four of whom were found to have the genetic defect. Additionally, other men with the disorder from France and North Africa have been show to have the defective gene.

The study is published in the American Journal of Human Genetics. It can be viewed at: www.sciencedirect.com.

NOTES TO EDITORS
The University of Dundee is internationally recognised for its excellence in life sciences and medical research with particular expertise in cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and skin diseases. The University has a top-rated medical school with research expanding from \'the cell to the clinic to the community\'.

For media enquiries contact:
Roddy Isles
Head, Press Office
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
TEL: 01382 384910
E-MAIL: r.isles@dundee.ac.uk
MOBILE: 07800 581902


 


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