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Genetics lab to crack infertility mystery

- Centre funds to help AIIMS-Patna set up first facility of its kind in state

The Centre’s help to a doctor at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna, has given a boost to male infertility studies and would soon help in the setting up of the first genetics lab of its kind in the state.

Dr Ajit Kumar Saxena, the head of pathology and lab medicine department of AIIMS-Patna, is researching the genetic problems behind male infertility. In September last year, he got around Rs 25 lakh from the ministry of science and technology to carry out the research work. Shortly, he would again get Rs 15 lakh from the ministry to take his research to a logical conclusion.

“According to a study, around 10 per cent of male infertility is caused by genetic reasons. However, scientists so far have not been able to ascertain the genetic problems which can lead to infertility among men,” said Saxena (50), attributing it to the need behind the research. His department would start a genetics lab at AIIMS-Patna next month where he would screen male patients with infertility problem.

Saxena said a few state-of-the-art machines had arrived for the genetics lab, which is first-of-its-kind lab in Bihar, including nanodrop spectrophotometer (equipment to help detect DNA, RNA and protein) worth Rs 7 lakh and polymerase chain reaction machine (a machine which gives complete expression of the gene) worth Rs 14 lakh.

Talking about the focus of his research work, Saxena said: “In my research work, titled, ‘genetic screening of microdeletion of chromosomes in infertile patients’, I would try to find out the genetic reasons of male infertility. There is a special point of Y chromosome, which is responsible for the production of sperms. If that breaks, sperm won’t be produced. So I would find out why that point of Y chromosome breaks which results into male infertility. My research work also focuses on the solution of male infertility. Once we are able to know the genetic reasons of male infertility, only then we would be able to treat the condition. Apart from the drug, we can suggest dietary supplement to the patient which would be based on the condition of the metabolism factor in his body.”

On some of the known reasons of male infertility, Saxena said: “According to a World Health Organisation report, sperm count drops in many men owing to continuous stress and change in lifestyle. Some studies suggest that alcohol consumption and smoking can also cause infertility among men. After completing two years of marital life, if a couple fail to reproduce, they should immediately contact a doctor and get themselves checked up,” added Saxena.