Gene find to boost fertility treatments


    London: Here’s some good news for infertile couples worldwide — scientists claim to have discovered a new gene which could enable sperm to bind to a female egg, a process essential to fertilization.

    A team at Durham University says the gene, which makes protein PDILT, is a major breakthrough that could help improve the effectiveness and even reduce the cost of in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

    In their research on mice, the scientists found that when the gene was ‘switched off ’ in male mice, less than three per cent of the females’s eggs were fertilized compared to more than 80% in mice when the gene was left switched on.

    It is the first time that a gene of this type has been linked to fertility, the Daily Express reported.

    Adam Benham, who led the team, said, “The protein is an essential part of the navigation system of sperm. It helps sperm swim through the oviduct to the egg and without it sperm get stuck. Our results show that navigating the oviduct is an important part of fertilization.

    “Like any navigation system, you have to programme where it is that you want to go and this protein plays an essential role in getting sperm to the right destination, in good shape, and in good time.”

    Though the research is in its early stages, the scientists are hoping that it will effect human sperm-to-egg binding and offer hope to couples hoping to conceive.


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