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A study found that there were 1752 zinc-related proteins in sperm. It has been found that zinc plays a key role in many processes that occur in sperm, particularly in the ability of sperm to function with eggs and fertilization. The researchers advised that livestock breeding could be more effective if the zinc levels of livestock were accurately identified.
A joint research team at the University of Missouri in the United States and the University of Queens in Canada announced on the 13th that zinc is an important regulator of the process in which sperm acquire fertilization function.
The research team collected sperm from reproductive male pigs at the National Center for Swine Resources and Research at the University of Missouri in the United States and investigated proteins that interact with zinc. As a result, 1752 proteins were found to be related to zinc. The team inferred that zinc is a key regulator of various processes that occur within sperm.
Of the 1752 proteins, 102 were produced in large quantities when sperm had the ability to fertilize. The team’s analysis showed that zinc allowed the sperm to remain unfertilized. This sperm is not fertilized when it encounters an egg. However, when zinc is released from the sperm, fertilization occurs. If zinc is released too early, the sperm will die on the way and will not reach the egg. “This process is very sensitive and time sensitive,” said the researchers. “Analyzing zinc levels in male pig sperm could help pig farmers determine which pigs are most effective for artificial insemination.”
The researchers emphasized that while zinc deficiency can lead to the development of malnutrition and developmental disabilities, consuming too much zinc can lead to poisoning. “This study will help us better understand how zinc deficiency affects male infertility,” said Peter Sutovsky, a professor of animal sciences at the University of Missouri.
The research team also found that proteins in sperm are associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. “It is surprising to find an unexpected similarity between the brain and the reproductive system,” said Michael Zigo, a researcher at the University of Missouri’s Department of Animal Sciences.