Geneticists at Edinburgh University have found a new gene connected to infertility and it is hopes this discovery could solve the problem completely.
The scientists looked at fruit flies and discovered that when the gene SRPK is missing chromosomes do not huddle or cluster together—a process thought necessary for fertilisation and healthy egg development.
Speaking with reporters Professor Hiroyuki Ohkura, one of the leading scientists, said that fruit fly eggs were a good basis to comprehend why sterility and low fertility occurs in humans.
Now that the specific gene has been discovered scientists feel confident that they can learn how fertile reproductive cells are created and what goes wrong.
The research on fruit flies also appears to replicate similar research carried out on mice. Though it is always difficult to extrapolate research based on animals onto humans genetic similarities are sufficiently useful to do so.
The study also found that chromosomes contain Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Consequently when they divide it is possible that low fertility or even sterility could also occur because of some abnormality.
Infertility in humans is a growing problem and while this latest research is encouraging it may not be the whole story. There may be other causes, as it is now well documented that factors such as chemical pollutants can create fertility problems.
However, the new research opens up greater opportunities to develop ways of treating the condition such as gene therapy.