Harvard Medical School researchers have uncovered an ovary gene whose absence from mouse egg cells produced severe pregnancy complications. The gene, Fmn2, which produces the protein formin-2, is similar in mice and humans and offers promise for understanding embryo loss, birth defects, and infertility in women. The study appears in the December Nature Cell Biology.
"As humans we are incredibly bad at producing eggs with the normal number of chromosomes, which is the leading cause of pregnancy loss in women," says Benjamin Leader, an HMS MD/PhD candidate, and the papers lead author. "The biological means for ensuring proper distribution of chromosomes to the egg has been difficult to determine.
"Our study shows that the formin-2 gene is required in order to ensure the proper distribution of chromosomes to the egg. About one percent of women suffer from recurrent pregnancy loss, which can be defined as a loss of greater than two or three pregnancies. We are now actively searching for mutations involving the formin-2 gene in women with reproductive loss and infertility," Leader added.
Donna Burtanger | EurekAlert!
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