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Two Y Genes Can Replace the Entire Y Chromosome for Assisted Reproduction in the Mouse

Science  03 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6166, pp. 69-72
DOI: 10.1126/science.1242544

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Why, Oh Y?

The mammalian Y chromosome is a symbol of maleness and encodes genes important for male reproduction. Various deletions of the Y chromosome result in sperm defects and infertility. When haploid male germ cells were injected directly into oocytes, Yamauchi et al. (p. 69, published online 21 November; see the Perspective by Capel) found that living offspring could be derived from male mice whose Y chromosome contribution was limited to only two genes. These two genes are the testis determinant factor Sry and the spermatogonial proliferation factor Eif2s3y.

Abstract

The Y chromosome is thought to be important for male reproduction. We have previously shown that, with the use of assisted reproduction, live offspring can be obtained from mice lacking the entire Y chromosome long arm. Here, we demonstrate that live mouse progeny can also be generated by using germ cells from males with the Y chromosome contribution limited to only two genes, the testis determinant factor Sry and the spermatogonial proliferation factor Eif2s3y. Sry is believed to function primarily in sex determination during fetal life. Eif2s3y may be the only Y chromosome gene required to drive mouse spermatogenesis, allowing formation of haploid germ cells that are functional in assisted reproduction. Our findings are relevant, but not directly translatable, to human male infertility cases.

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