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J Androl. 2010 Jan-Feb;31(1):34-44. doi: 10.2164/jandrol.109.008227. Epub 2009 Oct 29.

The power of mouse genetics to study spermatogenesis.

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Department of Pathology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Approximately 80 million people worldwide are infertile, and nearly half of all infertility cases are attributed to a male factor. Therefore, progress in reproductive genetics becomes crucial for future diagnosis and treatment of infertility. In recent years, enormous progress has been made in this field. More than 400 mutant mouse models with specific reproductive abnormalities have been produced, and numerous human association studies have been discovered. However, the translation of basic science findings to clinical practice remains protracted, with only modest progress in the application of novel findings to clinical genetic testing and cures. To date, the most significant findings in male infertility remain numeric and structural chromosomal abnormalities and Y-chromosome microdeletions in infertile men. Thus, we anticipate that future genetic investigations will focus on infertile men with a normal somatic karyotype but with various spermatozoal defects, like insufficient production of spermatozoa (oligozoospermia), inadequate motility (asthenozoospermia), abnormal morphology (teratozoospermia), or combinations of these defects. Ultimately, basic advances in mammalian nonhuman reproduction will translate to clinical advances in human reproduction and testing for infertile humans, thereby helping to improve diagnostics and health care for infertile patients.

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