Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evolutionary Phenomenon In Mice May Explain Human Infertility

Date:
January 23, 2008
Source:
University of Liverpool
Summary:
Scientists have found that field mice have evolved a unique way of ensuring faster fertilization, a phenomenon which could explain some cases of infertility in humans. They found that field mice sacrifice some of their immunity protection in favor of a more rapid fertilization process.

Field mice have traded the production of an immunologically important protein in favor of a faster fertilization process in order to compete with other mice more successfully, new research shows.
Credit: iStockphoto/Silvia Letizia Gandolla

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that field mice have evolved a unique way of ensuring faster fertilisation, a phenomenon which could explain some cases of infertility in humans.

The team, in collaboration with Charles University, Prague, found that field mice sacrifice some of their immunity protection in favour of a more rapid fertilisation process. This occurs due to the absence of a protein, called CD46. Present in both animals and humans, it helps protect the body's cells from attack by its immune system. Over time, field mice have lost the ability to produce this protein, resulting in instability of a cap-like structure, called the acrosome, present over the head of the sperm.

This instability allows the acrosome to be shed from the sperm head to create a new surface essential for sperm to be capable of fusing with an egg. This is a natural process that can take days to occur in humans, but field mice have developed a way in which this can occur rapidly.

Immunologist, Professor Peter Johnson, explains: "Field mice have traded the production of an immunologically important protein in favour of this faster fertilization process in order to compete with other mice more successfully. Female mice produce multiple eggs and if there are a lot of male mice competing for her, then it is an advantage to an individual mouse for its sperm to react quickly in order to beat other male competitors to fertilisation."

"By improving our understanding of defects in CD46 we may improve treatments for infertility in men. Humans normally produce a single egg each month and there is no evolutionary necessity to develop rapid sperm reaction to egg fertilisation. The process is therefore much slower and so any defect in CD46 could result in sperm being destabilised too early.

"Interestingly the rapid reaction caused in mice is similar to that in IVF treatment in humans where the acronome is artificially expelled from the sperm head before it is introduced to the egg to speed up the fertilisation process. Field mice appear to do this naturally."

The research is published in Reproduction.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Liverpool. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Liverpool. "Evolutionary Phenomenon In Mice May Explain Human Infertility." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123085257.htm>.
University of Liverpool. (2008, January 23). Evolutionary Phenomenon In Mice May Explain Human Infertility. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123085257.htm
University of Liverpool. "Evolutionary Phenomenon In Mice May Explain Human Infertility." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123085257.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins