Genetic secrets of human egg discovered

September 5, 2006

U.S. scientists say they have identified the genes that are unique to the human egg.

The Michigan State University researchers say the human egg's ability to transform into a new life, or into new cells that may someday save lives, is well documented. The mystery has been in the mechanics -- how a single cell can transform so nimbly.

Now the researchers say the new identification opens the way to understanding the genes' functions, which may lead to solving problems from infertility to degenerative diseases.

Jose Cibelli, MSU professor of physiology and animal science, said: "There are thousands of genes that are redundant. We found about one in 1,000 genes that are unique to the eggs -- and some of them, they don't have a known function yet. Now we can clone these genes and put them into cells and see if they may have a role in the creation of stem cells -- without fertilization or destruction of human embryos."

The study is detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: A dictionary of the language of cells

Related Stories

A dictionary of the language of cells

July 22, 2015

In their struggle to survive and prosper, multicellular organisms rely on a complex network of communication between cells, which in humans are believed to number about 40 trillion. Now, in a study published in Nature Communications, ...

Altering RNA helicases in roundworms doubles their lifespan

July 21, 2015

The things we do to extend our lives—quitting smoking, cutting back on carbs, taking up jogging —all have some impact on our longevity, if only just a little. But no matter how hard we work towards chasing the dream ...

Facebook for the proteome

July 17, 2015

There are approximately 20,000 human genes that encode proteins, but despite remarkable progress since the human genome was first sequenced more than a decade ago, scientists still understand in detail how only a small fraction ...

Extra support for cells under stress may be a job for DoGs

July 17, 2015

Stress wreaks havoc on our health—even at the cellular level. Cells under certain kinds of duress can lose water and put pressure on our DNA, making it difficult for genes to carry out critical functions such as self-repair. ...

Recommended for you

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light to electricity

July 28, 2015

When it comes to installing solar cells, labor cost and the cost of the land to house them constitute the bulk of the expense. The solar cells—made often of silicon or cadmium telluride—rarely cost more than 20 percent ...

New blow for 'supersymmetry' physics theory

July 27, 2015

In a new blow for the futuristic "supersymmetry" theory of the universe's basic anatomy, experts reported fresh evidence Monday of subatomic activity consistent with the mainstream Standard Model of particle physics.

A cataclysmic event of a certain age

July 27, 2015

At the end of the Pleistocene period, approximately 12,800 years ago—give or take a few centuries—a cosmic impact triggered an abrupt cooling episode that earth scientists refer to as the Younger Dryas.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.