A protein released by the female body to destroy unfertilized eggs with genetic damage, may help researchers in the quest to treat infertility.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard Medical School, found that a protein, called p63, was responsible for weeding out genetically damaged eggs before they could become fertilized.
This marks the first discovery of a mechanism that controls which eggs are allowed to be fertilized.
In the study, chemotherapy was given to two groups of female mice; one group had p63 removed from their bodies and the other group remained intact. The mice with no p63 had surviving eggs after the course of chemo, while the mice with p63 had none.
Despite the surviving eggs being damaged, the mice were still able to become pregnant. Researchers hope that the discovery can help them to figure out why some women seem to have more eggs than others and give women who have to undergo genetically damaging medical treatment more hope for retaining fertility.
Source: The West Australian
Photo credit: Fertility, by andidigress/ christian lopez, on Flickr
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