Researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University's School of Medicine have discovered a male infertility gene.
The discovery of the gene involved with sperm development could lead to new treatments of male infertility and new methods of male contraception.
The research saw the scientists destroy the Kifl8a gene in male mice, which led to poor testicle development and sperm loss, reports Xinhua.
Gu Mingmin from the school's medical genetics research unit said: "It is the first time in the world that we confirmed the relationship between mutated Kifl8a and sperm development through a mammal animal model...We identified that Kifl8a plays an important role in sperm development. Its improper function can influence chromosomes and result in cell death."
He revealed that the research group has started to screen infertile men to study the relationship between Kifl8a on infertility in humans.
Gu said: "Various causes can result in male infertility, but 50 percent of the reasons are still unknown," Gu said. "The discovery of Kifl8a's role gives us a new direction to study and could bring hope for new solutions in infertility diagnosis, treatment and birth control measures."
He added that gene therapy would be developed based on the discovery and help men with Kifl8a disorder.
The discovery has appeared in the latest version of Genes and Cancer, a United States-based scientific journal.