Gene Discovery May Yield Men's Birth Control Pill Fertility gene plays a big role in sperm production By Dustin Lushing, Newser Staff Posted May 25, 2012 4:13 PM CDT 11 comments Comments A stock image of a sperm and an egg. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – Scientists could be a big step closer to inventing a birth control pill for men. New research at the University of Edinburgh has pinpointed a gene called Katnal 1 that manages the final stages of sperm development, reports the Daily Telegraph. In theory, the work could lead to a new drug that would block the gene. "The important thing is that the effects of such a drug would be reversible because Katnal 1 only affects sperm cells in the later stages of development, so it would not hinder the early stages of sperm production and the overall ability to produce sperm," a researcher tells the BBC. A professor also noted that the genetic research from the study could "shed light on why some men are sub-fertile and why their sperm does not work properly."