The Courier-Mail

Koala bug gives clues to fertility

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KOALAS are providing new insights into how sexually transmitte­d diseases affect fertility in men.

University of Queensland Associate Professor Stephen Johnston says while infections are typically associated with female infertilit­y, Australian research shows chlamydia interferes with normal embryonic developmen­t, damaging male sperm DNA.

“We need to understand the incidence of the disease in the wild koala population­s, as we think the role of chlamydia in male reproducti­ve disease may have been underestim­ated,” Dr Johnston said.

Professor Ken Beagley, from QUT Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, said there is a poor understand­ing of how infection affects fertility in men.

Chlamydia, a commonly sexually transmitte­d disease in humans, is a major cause of poor health and death in koalas in Queensland and NSW.

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