The Portuguese research team detected an integral protein that promotes the compatibility between the maternal and paternal chromosomes after the fertilization, envisioning a new approach to the infertility diagnosis.

The study was held by a team from the Center of Research in Biomedicine of the University of Algarve and the Gulbenkian Institute for Science headed by Rui Gonçalo Martinho and Paulo Navarro-Costa.

Paulo Navarro-Costa explained that this study focused on “one of the first phases of the embryo’s development, the ability of a fertilized egg of joining the genetics information that comes from the father and the mother”. During this process, explains the researcher that “the chromosomes from the father and from the mother are different and incompatible structures” and that the protein dMLL3/4 is responsible for making them “compatible to join and to shape a new living being”.

When this protein doesn’t exist, highlights the scientist, it is possible that the egg’s formation “that appears morphologically normal” and “perfectly capable to originate a new living being”, but it has “a little flaw that makes it impossible to join the father and the mother chromosomes, so it is never produced an embryo with the ability of development”.

Although this is only an experimental study, the researcher said that “this protein also exists in humans and it is possible in some feminine infertility cases to be caused by that lack of this functional protein”.

The investigation results were published on the scientific magazine EMBO Reports.


By Lusa and Sapo 24, August 2018

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