Are we close to developing a male contraceptive pill with no side-effects? Well, could be as scientists from the University of Edinburgh have identified a gene that is associated with sperm generation.

Published in the journal, PloS Genetics, the findings showed that this gene called Katnal1 is crucial for fertility of men. If this gene is controlled in the testes, the sperm can be stopped from growing fully. The point to note here is that this effect can be brought about without fluctuating hormone levels in men.

On the flip side, this discovery may be used to treat male infertility which occurs possibly due to dysfunction of Katnal1. Generally, other modes of contraception may lead to side-effects related to physiological and psychological processes.

This gene seemed to control the process of sperm production. Therefore, it is quite clear that regulating expressions of this gene may have an influence on the ability to father a child. Drugs that target this gene can be used as contraceptives for men, believed the team.

Those worried if consuming such pills will hamper the reproductive ability in the long term need not worry, say the scientists. This is because the gene influences the sperms at a later phase of their growth cycles and not when they just begin to grow.

Contraceptives, whether used by men or women have their own set of side-effects. However, they are consumed to prevent unwanted and teen pregnancies.