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Discovery in Male Mice Gives Hope in Providing Clues to Find Infertility in Men

Up to 15 percent of couples of childbearing age struggle with the heartache of infertility. Now there is the promise of new hope with Cornell// researchers' identification of a mutation in a gene that causes male infertility in mice. Because this is the first time that a dominant mutation that leads specifically to infertility in a mammal has been discovered, the researchers say they can now look for similar mutations in the DNA of infertile men.

Up to 15 percent of couples of childbearing age struggle with the heartache of infertility. Now there is the promise of new hope with Cornell researchers' identification of a mutation in a gene that causes male infertility in mice. Because this is the first time that a dominant mutation that leads specifically to infertility in a mammal has been discovered, the researchers say they can now look for similar mutations in the DNA of infertile men.

Up to 15 percent of couples of childbearing age struggle with the heartache of infertility. Now there is the promise of new hope with Cornell researchers' identification of a mutation in a gene that causes male infertility in mice. Because this is the first time that a dominant mutation that leads specifically to infertility in a mammal has been discovered, the researchers say they can now look for similar mutations in the DNA of infertile men.

"If you consider infertility a disease, you can't study it like you would other diseases, because the affected people can't reproduce," said John Schimenti, director of Cornell's Center for Vertebrate Genomics and senior author of the paper published in the current issue of the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Biology. Laura Bannister, a research associate in Schimenti's laboratory, is the paper's lead author.

"Consequently, we know very little about the genetic causes of infertility in humans," said Schimenti, a Cornell professor of genetics.

The gene, called Dmc1, provides the
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