Researchers Make Breakthrough With Y Chromosome

Jan 29, 2016

Credit Duncan Hull / Flickr

Here's a story to take you back to high school biology class.

You may recall that the "Y" chromosome is present in all males.  While a lot remains unknown about that gene, a recent study shows that it can be mimicked or replaced. The application of that knowledge could lead to advances in fertility treatments.

A team from the Institute for Biogenesis Research at the John A. Burns School of Medicine spent the last 2 years researching replacements for the Y chromosome.

Monika Ward is a Professor at the Institute for Biogenesis Research and head of the research team.  She said the team first had to genetically modify male mice that did not possess the Y chromosome, a process that took a number of generations.  They then added chromosomes responsible for certain functions to genes in order to mimic the Y chromosome.

Ward said the modified males produced healthy, normal offspring.  Researchers hope the results will open possibilities to overcoming male infertility in the future.