Dr Ellis, Lecturer in Molecular Genetics and Reproduction and a member of Kent’s renowned Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of Reproduction (CiSOR), contributed to a news story that scientists have developed a way to separate X- and Y-chromosome carrying sperm, making it easier to manipulate the sex of offspring.
He said: ‘This study makes the startling claim that there are cell surface markers on X- and Y-bearing sperm cells that ‘label’ these and selectively affect their function.
‘This type of marker has been sought for many years in many different species, but thus far without success.
‘If this study were to be replicated – and in particular if it holds true in species other than mice – then the implications could be colossal for both animal and human artificial insemination and assisted reproduction, but we are certainly not at that stage yet.’
Dr Ellis was among the first people worldwide to apply microarray expression profiling to the study of reproductive functions in mouse and human models of infertility. His lab investigates the molecular biology of reproduction and the conflicting roles played by sex-linked genes in regulating this process.
In 2018, he co-authored the article The Y chromosome is disappearing – so what will happen to men? for The Conversation. This has been read by more than 1.5 million people, making it one of the most popular articles published by The Conversation.