Infertility is often a complex disease that is determined by a number of factors, including age, lifestyle, diet, health, and genetics. Upto 10% of all cases of infertility are characterized as “unexplained infertility,” due to the inability of physicians to determine the underlying cause.
Genetic factors involved in infertility are difficult to determine, as many genes exist and it can be time consuming to generate animal models with genetic knock-outs.
However, a recent report published in PLoS Genetics determined that the KATNAL1 gene plays an important role in male fertility.
When scientists generated mice with a loss-of-function mutation in the KATNAL1 gene, they observed that the male mice were infertile.
The defect seemed to inhibit the maturation of sperm by altering sertoli cells in the testicles.
This report identifies KATNAL1 as an important gene in sperm maturation and may help fertility experts treat men with unexplained infertility in the future.