The Utah Symposium on the Genetics of Male Infertility was held January 26-28 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The meeting was organized by Drs. Doug Carrell, Dolores Lamb, and Christopher De Jonge, was attended by 92 clinical and basic science researchers from 6 continents, and was held in the beautiful Huntsman Auditorium overlooking the snow covered Salt Lake Valley. In addition to the outstanding scientific program, some participants took advantage of the local ski resorts to enjoy great outdoor winter recreation.

The meeting was started with a dinner and keynote address by Dr. David de Kretser. Dr de Kretser’s talk was titled “The Genetics of Male Infertility: From Benchtop to Bedside”, and provided an overview of some of the current major topics regarding the genetics of male infertility, and was based on his service and research during his distinguished career.

Dr. Doug Carrell reviewed the contributions of the Human Genome Project to understanding genetic aspects of male infertility, and suggested specific areas of opportunities and concerns that meeting participants should consider in setting a path for future studies in the genetics of male infertility. The first session also included a focus on meiosis, with talks by Drs. Terrry Hassold, Renee Martin, and Pat Hunt. Topics included the role of meiotic errors in sperm aneuploidy and male infertility, and the effect of environmental influences on meiotic abnormalities. Presentations on mRNA processing and storage during included Dr. Norman Hecht speaking on the role of MSY2, and Dr. Paolo Sassone-Corsi presenting evidence of the role of the chromatoid body, and Dr. Stephen Krawetz talking about mRNA regulation. Dr Gail Cornwall spoke about epididymal gene expression during sperm maturation in the epididymis.

Methodological topics included presentations by Dr. Christopher Barratt on the proteomics of spermatogenesis, and Dr. Martin Matzuk reviewing animal models of male infertility. Dr Hong Li provided an update on the current status of microarray analysis.

Clinical topics included a focus on chromatin abnormalities by Dr Denny Sakkas, and sperm protamine abnormalities by Dr. Vincent Aoki. Dr Csilla Krausz reviewed the role of gene polymorphisms in evaluating genetic causes of male infertility, and Dr. Ken McElreavey discussed Y chromosome haplogoups. Capping off the meeting, Dr. Dolores Lamb presented exciting new data on genetic instability in male infertility, and Dr. Peter Schlegel provided a summary of the current state the current guidelines for clinical evaluation of the genetics of male infertility. The meeting was closed with a summary of the current status of evaluating male infertility, presented by Dr. Chris De Jonge.

An evening poster session was held and two abstracts were selected for trainee travel awards and oral presentation. Trainee award winners were Yi-Nan Lin (Baylor College of Medicine) and Petrice Brown (Washington State University). General Prize abstracts were awarded to Margarita Vigodner (The Rockefeller University), Shannon Whirledge (Baylor College of Medicine), Michael A. Nolan (Wyeth Research), and Katrien Stouffs (University of Brussels).

An exciting outcome of the meeting was the announcement of the combining of the Utah Symposium on Genetics of Male Infertility and the previously held EAA International Symposium on the Genetics of Male Infertility: From Research to Clinic, organized by Csilla Krausz (Chairperson of the POC) and Gianni Forti (President of EAA) from the University of Florence, held in October 2003. The combined University of Utah/University of Florence Symposium on the Genetics of Male Infertility will be alternated every two years between Florence, Italy and Salt Lake City, USA. The next symposium will be held September 20-23, 2007 in Florence, Italy under joint organization by Csilla Krausz, Gianni Forti, and Douglas Carrell.

Dr. Douglas T. Carrell, PhD HCLD
Associate Professor of Surgery (Urology), Physiology, and OB-GYN and Director of IVF and Andrology Laboratories at the University of Utah School of Medicine Salt Lake City, Utah
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