Soon women may be liberated from the burden of family planning: researchers have identified a new gene essential for the production of healthy sperm that could pave the way for a new type of non-hormonal male contraceptive.
Edinburgh University scientists found out that a gene named Katnal1 was vital for the final stages of making sperm. According to the BBC, the gene contains the blueprints for a protein which is important in cells which support the development of sperm. Without the protein, sperm do not fully form and the body disposes of them.
According to the researchers, the discovery could lead to the development of medicine to interrupt the production of fertile sperm without causing permanent damage.
“If we can find a way to target this gene in the testes, we could potentially develop a non-hormonal contraceptive,” said Dr Lee Smith, one of the researchers.
Some say that there is “certainly a need” for a non-hormonal contraceptive for men. The discovery has even been described as a “Holy Grail” of research. However, I wonder if women would hand over the responsibility of taking birth control. Would you?