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Updated 02 November 2010

Fascinating sperm facts

Scientists have discovered that the most important gene in sperm production in humans and most animals originated 600 million years ago and hasn't changed much since.

Your sperm is ancient. That’s not meant to be an insult and before you start freaking out and jumping up and down in dismay, let me reassure you that there is (most probably) nothing wrong with your sperm.

The Boule gene is the only gene known to exist exclusively for sperm production. While there are other genes involved in the process, all of them also have additional other functions, such as hormone regulation.

  • they might help scientists develop a better understanding of male infertility and how to treat it;
  • they may offer new avenues in the search for an effective male contraceptive drug – when the Boule gene was disabled in a mouse, the animal produced no sperm, but appeared healthy otherwise; and
  • they may provide novel directions in the development of pesticides and medicines against parasites and germ carriers by helping to control their reproduction.

 
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