Sperm Cell Biology Program
John Aitken, Moira O'Bryan, Shaun Roman, Mike Holland, David Jans, Peter Koopman
Subprogram 1: DNA damage in the male germ line
This program of research is designed to determine the cause, nature and consequences of DNA damage in the male germ line.
The human germ line is associated with abnormally high rates of DNA damage. Such damage has been linked with paternal impacts on human health, including abortion, childhood leukaemia, male infertility and testicular cancer. DNA damage in the male germ line is also responsible for de novo dominant genetic mutations in our species, giving rise to such conditions as achondroplasia, Aperts syndrome and multiple endocrine neoplasias.
At present, we have no idea how DNA damage in the male germ line is induced, the specific nature of this damage, or the mechanisms by which it brings about mutational change. This section of our program is designed to address these issues.
Subprogram 2: Molecular basis of sperm function
To achieve an in-depth understanding of the molecular basis of sperm function, with a view to characterising strategically important changes associated with epididymal maturation and fertilisation.
Epididymal maturation and capacitation are of strategic importance in the design of post-testicular methods of male contraception, the development of lVF systems for preservation of endangered species, and elucidation of the causes of male infertility.