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Understanding Infertility - The Role of Genes in the Control of Reproduction

The problem of infertility is not confined to humans alone. There has been a noticeable decline in the reproductive ability of cattle that have been bred specifically for their high milk yields. Two scientists at Department of Animal Science and the Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin have been jointly awarded a Science Foundation Ireland grant for their research into the genetic control of reproduction worth up to EUR1,000,000 over the next four years.   

The partnership of Lonergan and Evans typifies the exciting collaborations that are an integral part of the Conway research philosophy. With expertise in the areas of in vitro fertilisation and follicular development respectively, Drs. Lonergan and Evans believe that their research will improve the current understanding of the controlling mechanisms in reproduction. Their research will focus on three stages of early development; follicular development, the formation of a competent oocyte and the translation from maternal to embryonic mRNA.

The challenge of scientific research today has moved past the identification of genes to focus on deciphering their role in biological systems. Through understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that impact early embryonic development and the establishment of pregnancy, it will be possible to design effective strategies to control these processes. Such strategies may be used either for the purpose of improving fertility or for contraception.

UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular & Biomedical Research. January 2003.

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