Male Infertility Gene Identified

LONDON, Oct. 1 (UPI) — A faulty gene linked to a physical defect in testicles could explain some cases of male infertility, a British researcher says.

Scientists from the Pasteur Institute in France and University College London said male infertility appears to be more common within certain families, leading scientists to speculate there may be a genetic root for some cases even though only a handful of gene mutations that might be responsible have actually been found, the BBC reported.

In most cases doctors can’t find a cause for male infertility even though it accounts for up to half of situations where couples can’t conceive, the BBC said Thursday.

But the latest research looks at a gene that might play a role in male infertility.

“We conclude that approximately 4 percent of men with otherwise unexplained failure to produce sperm carry mutations in the NR5A1 gene,” researchers from the UCL Institute of Child Health in London and the Institut Pasteur in Paris said.

Dr. Allan Pacey, a senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, said there was still “embarrassingly little” known about the genetics behind male infertility.

“Although this gene defect affects only a small number of men, we need more studies like this so that we can fill in the gaps in our knowledge and possibly one day build a robust diagnostic test for male fertility based on genetics,” Pacey said.

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