Objective: To determine if the gene coding for human oviductin (the estrogen-dependent, oviduct-specific glycoprotein with an affinity for the zona pellucida) shows length polymorphism in the region of tandem repeats. To determine the frequencies of the length alleles in health and disease.
Design: Descriptive fundamental and clinical studies.
Setting: Fertility clinic and research center, university teaching hospital.
Patient(s): Fertile women, women with a history of ectopic pregnancy or tubal disease, and women with stage I or II endometriosis.
Intervention(s): Blood samples were drawn for DNA analysis.
Main outcome measure(s): Length and sequence of the region of tandem repeats.
Result(s): Four different length alleles of the human oviductin gene were identified. Their relative frequencies in pathologic cases were not statistically significant compared with those found in normal fertile women. The human genome contains a single copy of the oviductin gene located on chromosome 1p13.
Conclusion(s): The human oviductin gene codes for a glycoprotein that shares the characteristics of epithelial mucins. Because eight epithelial mucin genes have been identified so far, we therefore propose to name this gene MUC9. The biologic function of the protein is likely to include protection of the early embryo and of the fallopian tube itself.