Polymorphisms in genes involved in spermatogenesis are considered potential risk factors for male infertility. Recently a polymorphism in the deleted in azoospermia-like (DAZL) gene (T54A) was reported as susceptibility factor to oligo/azoospermia in the Chinese population. DAZL is an autosomal homologue of the Y chromosomal DAZ (deleted in azoospermia) gene cluster and both are considered master regulators of spermatogenesis. The aim of the present study was to screen (i) for mutations of the entire coding sequence of the DAZL gene in patients lacking of the DAZ gene cluster, in order to evaluate if DAZL polymorphisms may influence the AZFc deletion phenotype; (ii) for the two previously described (and eventually newly identified) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a large group of infertile and normospermic men of Italian origin. We failed to detect new mutations. We confirmed previous results showing no evidence for a functional role of the T12A mutation. Surprisingly, the T54A polymorphism, which was present in 7.4% of the Chinese patients was absent in our Caucasian population. This remarkable difference represent an example of how ethnic background is important also for polymorphisms involved in spermatogenesis and contributes to better select clinically relevant tests, specifically based on the ethnic origin of the infertile patients.
- Male infertility
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