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Gene Mutation Causes Male Infertility

Bionews,  Oct 18, 2012

Research teams in Australia and Britain have discovered a gene mutation that impacts sperm motilityin mice.

Male mice with the RABL2 gene mutation demonstrated no outward signs of impaired fertility, though their sperm had 17 percent shorter tails than those without the mutation. This causes a problem for conception, as the sperm are not equipped to swim long enough to reach and fertilize the female egg.

Dr. Moira O’Bryan, lead scientist at the Austrialian Academy of Science at Monash University believes “The mutations in the RABL2 gene are very likely to cause infertility”. Dr. O’Bryan’s team is also responsible for previous findings that suggest a 50 percent decreased sperm production in males with the RABL2 gene mutation.

These implications are important for human fertility as well. While infertility effects 1 in 8 couples, it is important to note that male infertility accounts for one third to one half of presenting infertility cases. Despite the need for further research, the findings in this study provide insight to causes of male infertility.

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