EVANSTON, Ill., July 15 (UPI) — The gene responsible for sperm production in almost all animals has remained unaltered through 600 million years of evolution, researchers say.
Scientists at Northwestern University say the so-called Boule gene seems to be the only gene known to be exclusively required for sperm production in all creatures from insects to mammals, a university release said Thursday.
“This is the first clear evidence that suggests our ability to produce sperm is very ancient, probably originating at the dawn of animal evolution 600 million years ago,” Eugene Xu, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, said. “This finding suggests that all animal sperm production likely comes from a common prototype.”
“Our findings also show that humans, despite how complex we are, across the evolutionary lines all the way to flies, which are very simple, we still have one fundamental element that’s shared,” Xu said.
“This is the one sex-specific element that didn’t change across species,” he said. “This must be so important that it can’t change.”
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