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Genetic grants
November 2019
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EAST LANSING, Mich.—Two National Institutes of Health grants—which total $2.8 million—will support Michigan State University researchers in their search for the genes behind male fertility and potentially new options for male contraception. One grant will focus on a population of piRNAs known as pachytene piRNAs, which are activated during the second phase of spermatogenesis and promote fertility. The second grant is geared toward a small RNA-based intracellular immune system that protects the germline genome. This system is guided by piRNAs to detect and destroy transposons, which are a kind of “genomic parasite” controlled by piRNAs. Unchecked transposon activity can cause DNA damage and male infertility.

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