The discovery of a new gene has raised hopes of producing a male contraceptive pill in the near future, to reduce unwanted pregnancies.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, mutations in the CATSPER1 gene, responsible for producing the protein needed for normal sperm movement, is linked with male infertility.
"Identification of targets such as the CATSPER1 gene that are involved in the fertility process and are specific for potentially minimizing the side effects of a drug targeting the protein's function, provide new targets for a pharmacological male contraceptive," the leader of the research team, Michael Hildebrand said.
Men treated with the antibodies designed to target the CATSPER1 protein were reported to have reduced fertility. As the sperm of these men were unable to fertilize eggs, scientists believe these antibiotics can be used to produce a male contraceptive.
They hope to use these findings to develop new infertility treatments.