The Science Behind Seed
Seed looks at DNA methylation in genes linked to sperm function and embryo development to help you better understand male fertility.
What Is Epigenetics?
Epigenetics is the study of how environmental factors can impact gene expression without changing the DNA itself.
Epigenetic marks can modify the function and activity of your genes at different times during development or in different types of cells. For example, every cell in your body contains the same set of chromosomes and genes but each cell type (e.g., neurons, white blood cells, muscles, etc.) needs to serve a different purpose to sustain a healthy, functioning human body.
Individual cells encode their epigenetic information through modifications to either the DNA itself or histones, the proteins that DNA coil around. Seed looks at DNA methylation. DNA methylation is essential in genomic imprinting, gene expression regulation, X chromosomal inactivation, and embryonic development.
Abnormal methylation in sperm DNA can impact your fertility.
Genes Associated With Fertility
Different genes are associated with different parts of fertility.
TAS2R60 for example is a gene that is thought to have an important role in helping sperm “find” the egg and the gene CATSPER has a well-documented role in helping sperm penetrate the egg. While ID3 is important for embryo development. These are just three out of many genes which Seed examines.
Meet Our Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Douglas Carrell
Episona Co-Founder, IVF and Andrology Laboratory Director at The University of Utah.
Dr. Andrew Smith
Episona Co-Founder, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at The University of Southern California
Dr. Paul Turek
Internationally Recognized Urologist, Founder of The Turek Clinics
Dr. James Hotaling
Male Fertility Expert, Director of Urology at The University of Utah
Epigenetics and Your Fertility
Epigenetics is the study of how external and environmental factors can impact our DNA’s gene expression. Learn more about the science behind our test.
Processing Seed Samples
All samples are sent to our CLIA-certified laboratory in Southern California and run on an Illumina array for a high-resolution analysis of your sperm DNA. Over 480,000 regions of sperm DNA are checked for epigenetic abnormalities.
Preparing Your Results
The raw data from our lab is then reviewed by our expert data scientists. The number of epigenetic sperm DNA abnormalities is categorized and quantified based on their association to sperm function or embryo development.
Your results provide a relative risk for each category and highlight abnormalities in specific genes with a known role in fertility. With this information, you will have a better idea of what to expect when planning to start a family, and can discuss the best course of treatment with your doctor.
“Large-scale epigenetic research is still in its infancy. Episona has created the largest ever sperm epigenome data set, and we are excited about the scientific discoveries to come.”
–Alan Horsager, Episona Co-Founder and CEO
Driving Research Forward
The science behind Seed is based on data from men like you. Every man who takes our test has the opportunity to improve the world’s scientific knowledge about epigenetics and male fertility.
When you create an account with your Seed kit, you will have an opportunity to participate in research questionnaires and help us discover new associations between epigenetic markers and personal health.