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The Discovery of Jumping Genes and its Effects on Women’s Fertility

The LINE-1 gene, otherwise known as the "jumping gene" affects a woman's eggs in the reproductive system. Researchers are aware of the dangers of this gene on women's fertility and are trying to get a better understanding of the gene and the issues it causes.

April 17, 2020

It is a known fact among doctors that women lose 80% of their original pool of potential eggs during fetal development. With researchers trying to figure out how to prevent this from happening, they have discovered LINE-1, or better known as the “jumping gene” that affects a woman’s eggs. With this gene affecting women’s reproductive lives, researchers are trying to figure out how to prevent this gene from hurting the development of a woman’s eggs.

This article covers:

  • How many eggs are women born with?
  • What is the “jumping gene”?
  • What can women do to protect their egg quality?

How Many Eggs are Women Born With?

Women are born with all of the eggs that they will need and have for the rest of their lives. While men can reproduce sperm, women are not able to reproduce eggs, which results in eggs deteriorating over time. Women are born with approximately two million eggs in their ovaries, but once a woman hits puberty, they can lose up to 11,000 every month. 

Once a woman becomes a teenager, the rate of her eggs slows down to about one thousand a month, but this could also change because of a woman’s lifestyles. Taking birth control pills, becoming pregnant, nutritional supplements, and even a woman’s health and predict how many eggs she will lose each month. When a woman runs out of her supply of eggs, that’s when women start the menopause stage.

What is the “Jumping Gene”?

The jumping gene, or more specifically, LINE-1, has an impact on women’s fetal development and the overall number of eggs that they produce before even being born. For many years, doctors have known that women lose up to 80% of their original pool of eggs before even being born and they have found out that the jumping gene is the cause of this. 

researcher using a microscope
Researchers have discovered the “jumping gene”, or LINE-1, that affects women’s fertility and egg development before they are even born.

While the jumping gene doesn’t have any effect on a male’s sperm quality during fetal development, it drastically affects women, but doctors believe that it is useful in allowing a selective survival of immature eggs that wouldn’t make it past the point of fetal development. Researchers are still trying to find out a way to prevent this gene from taking millions of eggs from women before they are born and to maintain a long egg supply for women.

What Can Women do to Protect Their Egg Quality?

Being worried about the jumping gene is understandable, but there are many other ways to protect a woman’s egg quality ro prevent losing more. For example, if you are a smoker, doctors recommend to quit because of its effects on your fertility and egg count. Chemicals in cigarettes are known to mutate egg cells and can even make them unusable for conception.

woman holding sonogram
OB/GYNS are recommending that women change their lifestyle to protect their eggs, such as quitting smoking, eating healthy, and even freezing their eggs. 

Doctors also recommend that you help to manage your stress, eat healthy food such as fruits, vegetables, and stay away from processed food, and to invest in supplements. Many OB/GYNs are also recommending that you should freeze your eggs. If you are planning on delaying motherhood, you can stop the biological clock with your eggs aging and freeze them. With freezing your eggs, they remain the same and don’t age, so it ensures a healthy pregnancy, if you are planning on delaying it. If you have any more questions involving your fertility, talk to your OB/GYN today about your options.


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