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Southern California Urology Institute
Gary Bellman, M.D., F.R.C.S.
Board Certified Urologist
Fellowship Trained, Certified in Robotic Surgery

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Infertility May be Linked to Taste Genes?

By: Dr. Gary Bellman on June 2, 2013, 4:01 pm

Humans have long relied on the sense of taste in the struggle to survive and multiply.  A bitter taste alerts us to a plant that may be poisonous, while a sweet taste tells us that a plant is likely high in calories and can help sustain us.  Taste receptors are the proteins responsible for our ability to taste salty, sweet, and bitter foods.
These receptors have been found in the stomach, intestines, pancreas, lungs, and the brain. 

According to this recent finding, the function of taste receptors and signaling protein outside of our taste system is still unclear in some areas, but they seem to be part of the chemical that senses sugars or amino acids.  Some of the same genes that allow us to sense sweet and savory (umami) flavors were also found active in a man’s testes and sperm.  Current studies published about this matter recorded that suppressing these genes may affect not only a man’s ability to taste, but also his ability to reproduce.

Researchers say that these findings could lead to contraceptives for men and suggest ways to help treat male infertility– Like much good science, current findings pose more questions than answers.  Now, there is a need to identify the pathways and mechanisms in the testes that utilize these taste genes so we can better understand how their loss leads to infertility.


http://www.science20.com/news_articles/taste_genes_linked_male_sterility-115839


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