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A gene that controls egg development in worms may one day help women prolong their fertility, scientists have said.
A team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem analysed the DNA of roundworms. Like humans, the animals contain 20,000 genes.
Tests - Gene - Controls - Egg - Maturation
Tests showed the gene ogr-2 controls egg maturation in the worms. Delving further, they discovered a switch, MAPK, that turns egg development on and off.
When ogr-2 was removed via gene-editing technology, MAPK went into 'overdrive', with the worms 'instantly' becoming less fertile.
Days - Scientists - Gene - Humans - Day
Although early days, the scientists hope an equivalent gene in humans may one day be included in food additives to help women maintain their eggs until they are ready to be used.
Infertility affects around one in six women in the UK, statistics show.
US - Struggle - Center - Disease - Control
And in the US, one in 10 struggle to get or stay pregnant, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
A girl's eggs begin to mature after her first period, which usually occurs between 10 and 15 years old. Over time, these eggs age and lose their quality.
Eggs - Causes - Birth - Defects - Miscarriages
Ageing eggs is one of the main causes of birth defects, miscarriages and infertility, the researchers wrote in the journal Genetics.
This is despite more and more women...
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