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Absence of sperm RNA elements correlates with idiopathic male infertility

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Science Translational Medicine  08 Jul 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 295, pp. 295re6
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aab1287

Counting on the sperm RNA

Infertility affects many couples of reproductive age. Male infertility is typically evaluated by visual assessment of the sperm to determine sperm counts and morphological characteristics. Unfortunately, this approach is ineffective for patients whose sperm are morphologically normal, making it difficult to distinguish patients who require assisted reproductive technology from those who could benefit from cheaper and less invasive approaches. Jodar et al. have now identified a set of sperm RNA elements whose absence correlates with infertility, such that the more elements are lacking in a patient’s sperm, the less likely he is to achieve fertility without technological assistance. If confirmed in prospective studies, these findings could help guide the selection of optimal fertility treatments for couples with idiopathic male infertility.

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