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Identifying causal genes of spermatogenic failure on the male-specific region of Y chromosome (MSY) has been a challenging process. Due to the nonrecombining nature of MSY, haplotype-based approaches have recently been shown to be promising in identifying associated MSY haplogroups. We conducted an MSY analysis of nonobstructive azoospermia (NOA) patients in a case-control setting (N = 278 and 105 respectively) to identify modal haplogroups strongly associated with NOA. Patients with AZF deletions (AZF+) and no AZF deletions (AZF-) were compared with the control group. Given the larger sample set of AZF- NOA patients, we further investigated the association based on histopathological severity, namely Sertoli cell-only syndrome and maturation arrest subtypes. We observed no significant enrichment of MSY haplogroups in AZF- azoospermic patients (or its subtypes). However, we observed a strongly significant association between haplogroup J2a* and AZF+ patients (FDR-corrected p = .0056; OR = 7.02, 95%CI 1.89 to 39.20), a haplogroup which also showed significant enrichment for AZFa/b deletions (p = 4x10-4 ). We conclude that unlike AZF+ patients, AZF- NOA are less likely to have an MSY causative factor with large effect size, thus indicating that the aetiology of AZF- NOA, and to some extent AZFc NOA, is more likely to be based on non-MSY factors.

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MSY haplotype, azoospermia factor, severity, spermatogenesis