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New Type of Male Contraceptive? Key Gene Essential for Sperm Development Discovered

Date: 28.5.2012 

A new type of male contraceptive could be created thanks to the discovery of a key gene essential for sperm development.

The finding could lead to alternatives to the conventional male contraceptives that rely on disrupting the production of hormones, such as testosterone. These treatments can cause side-effects such as irritability, mood swings and acne.

Research, led by the University of Edinburgh, has shown how a gene -- Katnal1 -- is critical to enable sperm to mature in the testes.

If scientists can regulate the Katnal1 gene in the testes, they could prevent sperm from maturing completely, making them ineffective without changing hormone levels.

The research, which is published in the journal PLoS Genetics, could also help in finding treatments for cases of male infertility when malfunction of the Katnal1 gene hampers sperm development.






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