Oct. 17, 2007 -- Scientists today announced that they have found a possible genetic cause of male infertility.
The discovery may eventually lead to new treatments for male infertility.
The researchers studied a gene called JHDM2A in male mice. Without that gene, the mice had few mature sperm, and those sperm were misshapen.
"Defects in this gene could be the cause for some cases of male infertility," researcher Yi Zhang, PhD, says in a news release.
Zhang is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's medical school.
"Because this gene has a very specific effect on the development of functional sperm, it holds great potential as a target for new infertility treatments that are unlikely to disrupt other functions within the body," says Zhang.
Zhang and colleagues report their findings in Nature.
Those findings are based on lab tests on mice. The researchers are now looking for mutations in the JHDM2A gene in infertility patients.