Rutgers geneticists have reported groundbreaking research on the genetics of fertility. They have discovered two genes, aptly named egg-1 and egg-2, required for fertilization to take place. The proteins encoded by these genes are similar to low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors, known from cholesterol and fat metabolism but never before specifically implicated in fertilization.
One in six couples is experiencing fertility problems worldwide, and people are asking why. This is a question of great medical, social and economic importance – one that cannot be answered until the process of fertilization is more fully understood.
A team led by Andrew Singson, an assistant professor and Pavan Kadandale, a graduate student in the Singson lab at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has taken a new and productive approach in this quest. The researchers found that in the absence of these two genes, the vital process of fertilization came to a halt. "What we learn in studying fertilization is not only important for this event, but also for the functioning of other cells in our bodies and for understanding many of those processes," Singson said.
Joseph Blumberg | EurekAlert!
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