Cell huddles hold clue to
low fertility

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LOW fertility and sterility could be explained by fresh insights into the way cells divide during reproduction.

Researchers at Edinburgh University have identified a gene that regulates a process which is essential to the formation of a healthy fertile egg.

This gene enables chromosomes – the thread-like structures inside all cells that contain DNA – to huddle together. Scientists think that this huddling process is necessary to ensure the egg’s healthy development and fertilisation.

After studying hundreds of infertile fruit flies, researchers found that without the gene SRPK, which is present in mammalian cells, chromosomes do not cluster. This leads to sterility and low fertility.

Research in mice has shown that huddling is essential in order for eggs to remain fertile.

Experts now hope to be able to understand what goes on in the creation of fertile reproductive cells.