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8/7/2016

CRG: The sperm tail may determine semen quality

CRG: The sperm tail may determine semen quality


News from CRG


The annual Congress of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), which ends today in Helsinki (Finland), has been the setting chosen by the Eugin group, a European benchmark clinic in assisted reproduction, and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), an international biomedical research institute of excellence, to present new research related to male infertility, which they have undertaken together.

Specifically, the study entitled "The distribution of post-translational modifications of tubulin identifies the end region of the sperm tail as a possible marker of sperm quality" describes for the first time the presence of alterations in the tail of the human sperm, the so called flagellum, which will help indicate the quality of sperm and improve the diagnosis of infertility. The study is a new example of successful collaboration between businesses and research centers. In this case, by linking the Eugin group's experience in the field of assisted reproduction with cutting-edge research in the field of cytoskeleton, and the function of microtubules in cells, led by Isabelle Vernos at the Centre for Genomic Regulation.

The alterations that occur in the sperm tail had previously been detected in other animal species such as flies or sea urchins, but it is the first time they have been described in humans. "In other species it has been seen that when there are these alterations the sperm have motility problems and their functioning is not correct," says Dr. Isabelle Vernos, ICREA research professor and group leader at the CRG as well as coauthor of the paper. "For this reason, the findings are promising: the end of the sperm tail could present a new place to look for indicators that give us information about semen quality."

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