Sydney: Mutations in a protein called RABL2 shortens sperm tails, crippling their swimming ability (motility) and lowering sperm production - all contributing to male infertility, says a study.The team led by Moira O`Bryan, professor from Monash University`s School of Biomedical Sciences in Austraia, found that mutated RABL2 resulted in sperm tails 17 percent shorter than normal, lowering sperm production by 50 percent.O`Bryan said the research fitted another piece in the jigsaw puzzle of sperm development. "The mutations in the RABL2 gene are very likely to cause infertility," said O`Bryan, the journal Public Library of Science Genetics reports."Further, as motility is absolutely essential for fertility, insights into tail function may reveal options for urgently needed male-based contraception," added O`Bryan, according to a Monash statement.Doctoral student and study co-author Jennifer Lo, also from the School of Biomedical Sciences, said RABL2 worked with other molecules known as intraflagellar transport proteins that carry genetic cargo along the sperm tail.
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