The Marker Post

Coming soon: Unisex contraceptive pills

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Little is known about various biological steps involved in the production of the male sperm and its fusion with the female egg. But now scientists have found a switch, in the form of a protein receptor, that triggers the ‘power kick’ sperms use to fertilize human eggs.

Scientists have developed this technique that allows them to attach electrodes on a sperm’s tail and get its reactions to hormones. This is a key to know the molecular cascades that gives information about sperm behaviour.

In fact, they have found a switch (protein) that triggers the ‘power kick’ sperms use to fertilize human eggs. This technique might help doctors to determine the cause of almost 80% of all cases of male infertility.

This switch is a protein receptor that responds to the female sex hormone progesterone, which is released by the egg, the ultimate goal towards which sperm move.

Thousands of receptors sit on the surface of a sperm’s tail and when the sperm gets closer to the egg. The hormone activates these receptors and triggers a cascade of changes that make the tail snap like a whip.

According to researchers, if the receptor protein doesn’t recognize progesterone, you would be infertile. This also gives information about human sperm activity.

Therefore, a drug that inactivates this new receptor might make a good “unisex” contraceptive. This could be used by either sexual partner.

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