Does infertility begin in the womb already?

One of the causes of infertility is the inability to produce viable gametes - sperm and eggs. Reproductive age of a person takes about from 15 to 45 years. However, the progenitor cells from which gametes develop, are formed much earlier - in the very early stages of embryonic development, when the cell's DNA carries modifications, derived from parents, that do not affect the gene sequence itself, but affect the conversion of genetic information of the gene in the "end product": RNA or protein

These changes are accumulated during the life of the parents and must be corrected during embryonic development. Most of these modifications are reprogramming, when the fetus is not older than six weeks. But the U.S. scientists have conducted a research and found another one modification - the final stage of this process, which takes place after the age of six weeks.

The scientists worked with the embryos obtained from abortions. They investigated the reproductive cells of the fetus at the age of six weeks and saw that they were different from those that have been artificially grown in the laboratory from stem cells.

"In the early stages of the formation of germ cells in the laboratory some blocking occurs, the nature of which we don’t understand yet. Now we can look at the cells of the fetus and find out what is missing to make the immature germ cells-precursors turn into eggs and sperm in laboratory conditions, "said one of the study's authors.

This study is a basis for future work aimed at obtaining human gametes in vitro and discovering of the mechanisms needed to transfer the DNA of people from one generation to the next.

Based on the materials of the web-site