Indian men genetically prone to infertility: Study

The Y chromosome consists of genes responsible for production of healthy sperms and, these genes are getting deleted due to genetic factors among Indian males.

By Author  |  Published: 19th Apr 2019  12:11 am

Hyderabad: A study by genetic researchers from Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has thrown new light on the causes of infertility among Indian men.

According to the study, published in the prestigious journal ‘Scientific Reports’ of Nature on Thursday, frequency of deletion of genes in the Y chromosome among Indian men is higher as compared to men in other populations.

The Y chromosome consists of genes responsible for production of healthy sperms and, these genes are getting deleted due to genetic factors among Indian males. Deletions of such genes, which are responsible for the production of healthy and motile sperm, are the most common causes of male infertility among Indian males.

The study, which was carried out by Dr K Thangaraj’s group at CCMB, highlighted two major reasons —genetic isolation and endogamy — for infertility among Indian men. “Genetic isolation and endogamy is widespread in India.

The Indian population is unique in its origin and has been practising endogamy for the last 2,000 years. Our study tries to understand deletion of genes in Y chromosome in diverse Indian population and its association with male infertility,” said Dr Thangaraj.

The practice of marrying within a specific social group, caste and ethnic group, also known as endogamy, is quite common in India. The study said genetic isolation and endogamy play a big role in introducing novel genetic variations that cause deletion events in Y chromosome among Indian males.

“As part of our study, we screened 973 infertile men along with 587 fertile men with normal sperm count and motility. We tried to find these deletions in the AZF region, which is the home for genes, of Y chromosome. In our study, a total of 29.4 per cent of infertile Indian men were carrying deletions in their Y chromosome,” Dr Deepa Selvi Rani, the lead author of the study, said.

Dr Thangaraj said the study finds its applications in infertility and Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART). “Our findings have potential applications in infertility clinics. The sperm carrying Y chromosome deletion often leads to failure in assisted reproduction. Hence, it can be worthwhile to check for the deletion while screening infertile men prior to adapting any assisted reproductive methods,” he said.

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