A team of Australian researchers at Monash University has found a way to cut off the energy required by the sperms to swim, leading to hopes that the finding could be used in developing male contraceptive pills in the future.
The researchers found that a mutation in a gene, known as RABL2, responsible for providing the protein fuel to the sperm's tail in mice can stop it from swimming on. The researchers also found that it reduced the sperm production by almost half and the tails of sperm produced were 17 percent shorter than normal.
Lead researcher Moira O'Bryan said that there are a number of ways to reduce or stop the production of sperms but the main difficulty was to make it temporary rather than permanent. "They weren't wriggling or going anywhere, they were just twitching. With this mutation, we get motors that don't work properly. To be fertile, sperm need motility or swimming ability. The challenge with developing the male pill isn't rendering the sperm infertile but turning them back on again", she said.
The study has been published in the journal PloS Genetics.