Autosomal mutations and human spermatogenic failure

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Dec;1822(12):1873-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2012.07.006. Epub 2012 Jul 27.


Infertility, defined as the inability to conceive after 1 year of unprotected intercourse, is a healthcare problem that has a worldwide impact. Male factors are involved in at least half of these cases of infertility. Despite 3 years of assisted reproductive activities, a considerable number of cases (25-30%) remain idiopathic. This situation can be explained by a poor understanding of the basic mechanisms driving male and female gametogenesis. Compared to multi-organ pathologies, only a few non-syndromic genetic causes of human infertility have been described so far, despite the fact that it is estimated that some infertility cases could be explained by genetic causes and that over 200 infertile or subfertile genetic mouse models have been described. So far, very little has been discovered in the field of human male reproductive genetics. Consequently, genetic tests proposed to infertile couples are limited, although worldwide efforts devoted to the field of human genetics of infertility are expected to provide new genetic tests in the near future. We present the requirements for performing informative genetics studies in the field of infertility, the techniques used and the results obtained so far. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Molecular Genetics of Human Reproductive Failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / genetics*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Models, Animal
  • Mutation*
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics*