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Crocodile Sperm May Help Solve Human Male Infertility

First Posted: May 06, 2016 04:49 AM EDT
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Recently, a remarkable discovery found that the key to solving male infertility may lie in saltwater crocodiles' sperm. According to reports, a new research found that crocodile sperm behaves in a manner different from what was previously thought, after leaving the testicles.

The sperm of Australian saltwater crocodile continues to mature outside the testicles just like human sperm, according to a recent report. The finding has important indications for not only animal conservation but human fertility too. "We can gain important insights into human sperm by studying the less complicated sperm of other species," said Professor Brett Nixon from the University of Newcastle. "The study of crocodile sperm has enabled us to identify key proteins involved in motility and we can manipulate the activity of these proteins to increase the ability of sperm to swim and ultimately fertilize an egg".

About one in 20 human males have fertility issues; however the state of not being able to produce any sperm at all is experienced by only one in 100. According to the researchers, the findings could have important implications for assisted reproductive technologies. The sperm of humans becomes totally mature and capable of fertilizing an egg during its interaction and journey through the female genital tract. Therefore, its ability to move or swim is crucial, as that is the deciding factor for its success in impregnating a female. The recent findings, associated with saltwater crocodile sperm, will enable the researchers to study the activation of key proteins related to the swimming or moving ability of the human sperm.

The study could also have a significant implication for the conservation of endangered crocodiles. The breeding habits and gender of the aquatic reptiles are dependent on temperature, and a warming climate could lead to only the birth of female crocodiles. Such an occurrence can have serious consequences on the survival of the species in the long term, and hence the research will help to flourish captive breeding programs that will act as a buffer against threats related to climate change. The study was carried out by researchers from Australia who collected crocodile semen using a digital massage technique.

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