In a few years, you may be the one on “the pill.”
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have identified a gene responsible for an essential phase of sperm development. The discovery is an early but very important step toward the creation of a male contraceptive similar to the daily pill you’re always worrying your wife or girlfriend forgot to take. (How does the pill affect her sex drive? Find out in 39 Things Women Wish You Knew.)
The gene, which scientists are calling “Katnal1,” is responsible for a late stage of sperm maturation. What does that mean? If the Katnal1 genetic pathway is disrupted, your gun is locked and loaded but you’ll shoot blanks.
As of today, the researchers have shown that injecting a virus designed to disrupt the Katnal1 pathway effectively renders mice infertile but not impotent, explains study author Lee Smith, Ph.D., a genetic endocrinologist at U. of Edinburgh. Human studies are next in line, he says.