Friday, September 15, 2006

Gene May be Link to Female Fertility

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say that they may have identified a gene that can affect a woman’s fertility.

In the study, investigators examined fertility rates in female mice with just one copy of a gene that produces a protein known as adrenomedullin and compared this with fertility rates in mice with two copies of the gene. Although the mice mated with male mice that also had either one or two copies of the gene, the number of genes in the male mice did not impact the female mice’s ability to get pregnant.

Instead, researchers noted that female mice with just one copy of the gene had “significantly reduced fertility” compared to the other female mice. Among its various jobs, adrenomedullin plays a part in implantation, promoting blood flow to the area. Decreased levels of adrenomedullin have been shown to cause pregnancy complications in previous tests.

While low adrenomedullin levels are not thought to be the only cause of female infertility, researchers say this study “[raises] the intriguing possibility that modest alterations in [adrenomedullin] gene expression in the human population may contribute significantly to overall reproductive health.”

Source: Miranda Hitti,

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