Researchers to carry out studies on human reproductive regulation
Population security and reproductive health are of critical importance to the population problem, which constitutes the most outstanding restraint on the sustainability of China's socio-economic development.
At present, according to experts, reproductive health in China is mainly challenged by the sustained population increase, a high proportion of infertile couples, a rising birth defect and disability rate and the rapid propagation of the sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
To cope with the challenges, a research team led by DUAN Enkui, a physiologist from the CAS Institute of Zoology (IOZ), has initiated a research project on human reproductive regulation and related diseases with the support of the National Basic Research Program. Under the organization of IOZ, the project has rallied research groups from 11 universities or research bodies across the country. Each of them is headed by a CAS Member, professor or research professor. On the basis of their previous studies in the field, the researchers are to reveal the functions of the genes and proteins they have discovered with independent intellectual property rights, and make fresh attempt to find new genes and proteins pertinent to human reproduction. Through exploration of their roles in regulating human fertility, prevention or treatment of major reproductive diseases, it is expected to make innovative contributions to the effective control of the national population and therapies of these diseases.
Starting from the three targets in reproductive regulation (i.e. reproductive cells, fertilization and embryo implantation), the research work was to address the following three scientific issues: the specific genes/proteins and their function pathways in control & regulation of a reproductive cell's emergence, maturity and apoptosis; the way in which epigenetic modification regulates fertilization and early embryonic development; the dialogue between the early embryo and the maternal womb and mechanism for restrained invasion of trophoblast.
The research means adopted by the project include s station or platform for living reproductive cells, epithelial cell culture, sperm function detection and in vitro fertilization- embryo implantation. The studies will involve various disciplines ranging from genomics and proteonomics to expressive genetics and systematic biology. The project will enrich out knowledge on human reproduction and related diseases, providing theoretical grounds for contraceptive technologies prevention & treatment of some reproductive diseases and the safety of assisted reproductive expertise in clinical practice.