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
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." (Read more sperm stories.)

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