Edinburgh fruit fly study links 'huddle' gene to infertility

Sperm Scientists believe the huddling process is necessary to ensure the egg's healthy development

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Scientists have identified a gene which they claim could help solve the problem of infertility in humans.

Edinburgh University conducted a study with fruit flies, during which they found when the gene SRPK is missing, chromosomes do not "huddle" together.

They believe the huddling process is necessary to ensure the egg's healthy development and fertilisation.

Chromosomes contain DNA and when they divide it can lead to sterility and low fertility, according to the study.

Previous research in mice has shown that the huddling process is essential in order for eggs to remain fertile, the scientists said.

By identifying the genes involved in the process, the experts now hope to gain an understanding of what goes on in the creation of fertile reproductive cells.

The team said further research is needed to help build a more detailed picture on how huddling works.

Professor Hiroyuki Ohkura, from the University of Edinburgh's school of biological sciences, said: "Fruit fly eggs serve as a good model to understand why sterility and low fertility arises in humans.

"By studying the phenomenon of chromosome clustering, shared by fruit flies and humans and identifying genes like SRPK we are gaining insights into fertility health."

The study is published in the Journal of Cell Science and was funded by the Wellcome Trust.

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