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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: August 2009

3 - Genomic and proteomic approaches to defining sperm production and function



The purpose of this chapter is to provide the reader with an insight into potential new developments in male infertility; specifically, sperm development and function, concentrating on the technologies of gene expression, proteomics and use of gene knock out experiments. We initially discuss the future of traditional semen analysis, as a baseline to describing new technologies. The overall objective is to stimulate the reader to find out more about these developments and to provide some guidance on how the information can be used to develop more effective diagnostic tools for the future. It is our premise that a more detailed understanding of the physiology of both the normal and pathological cell is central to developing rational, non-assisted reproductive technology (non-ART) therapy.

How useful is a semen assessment for the diagnosis and prognosis of male infertility?

The value of traditional semen parameters (concentration, motility and morphology) in the diagnosis and prognosis of male infertility has been debated for almost 60 years and, perhaps not surprisingly, the debate continues (see Björndahl et al., 2005). There are many difficulties in the design of studies to assess the value of traditional semen parameters, for example number of semen samples to assess, relevance of different outcomes (in vitro fertilisation (IVF) versus in vivo conception) etc., but one of the most significant variables is the degree of quality control (QC) measures in place to ensure the assessment is valid.