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Millions of couples who have trouble conceiving may get relief from new research led by scientists at The University of Texas at San Antonio. The researchers have developed a high-resolution genetic map showing how men produce sperm cells. Their effort could help address genetically based challenges with male fertility, a major cause of conception problems.
The researchers' findings reveal detailed information about which genes are turned on or off in stem cells that ultimately grow into sperm cells. This data could give doctors crucial insight into the development of sperm in a patient, a perspective that was lacking up until now.
UTSA - Researcher - Brian - Hermann - Knowledge
UTSA researcher Brian Hermann says the new knowledge could be a game changer for uncovering what can go wrong in men who suffer from infertility.
"We took a new, cutting-edge approach down to the level of individual cells to understand all the changes in which genes are used to make sperm in the testicles. That previously had not been possible and impedes progress toward a cure for male infertility," said Hermann, a biology professor and director of the UTSA Genomics Core.
Findings - November - Edition - Journal - Cell
The findings appear in the November 6 edition of the scientific journal, Cell Reports. Professors Hermann and John R. McCarrey led the group, which included researchers at UTSA and across the country.
Together, the team built a comprehensive digital library of the cell types required for sperm production in mice and men. They examined more than 62,000 cells and identified 11 different gene expression profiles; their work even uncovered rare and new cells for which little data was previously reported. The research, which began in early 2014, was supported by the Kleberg Foundation, the Hurd Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
NIH - Reproduction - Issues - Males - Half
According to the NIH, reproduction issues in males contribute to at least half of infertility cases among couples. Many cases of...
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