Genetics of life's 1st 15 minutes studied

Oct 27, 2005

European scientists say they've identified the gene responsible for controlling a first key step in the creation of life.

The gene, known as HIRA, "chaperones" the early processes that occur once a sperm cell enters an egg, giving it a crucial role in the most fundamental process in sexually reproducing animals.

The researchers say the absence or mutation of the gene in the maternal genome explains why eggs fail to produce an early embryo despite the presence of "healthy" sperm.

Although the scientists used a fruit fly to discover the basic genetic processes of sex, they said the same genetic processes are present in all sexually reproducing animals, including humans.

"All sexually reproducing animals do the same kind of DNA 'dance' when the DNA from the mother's egg cell and the father's sperm cell meet for the first time," said Tim Karr of the University of Bath, who worked with Benjamin Loppin and Pierre Couble from the Center of Molecular and Cellular Genetics in France.

The study is detailed in the journal Nature.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: How were fossil tracks made by Early Triassic swimming reptiles so well preserved?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How did multicellular life evolve?

Feb 05, 2015

Scientists are discovering ways in which single cells might have evolved traits that entrenched them into group behavior, paving the way for multicellular life. These discoveries could shed light on how complex ...

Protein threshold linked to Parkinson's disease

Feb 02, 2015

The circumstances in which a protein closely associated with Parkinson's Disease begins to malfunction and aggregate in the brain have been pinpointed in a quantitative manner for the first time in a new ...

No knots in known RNA structures

Feb 02, 2015

It had never been verified before: unlike other biopolymers, RNA, the long strand that is 'cousin' to DNA, tends not to form knots. The observation has been published in the journal PNAS by a research team o ...

Recommended for you

Predicting human crowds with statistical physics

Feb 27, 2015

For the first time researchers have directly measured a general law of how pedestrians interact in a crowd. This law can be used to create realistic crowds in virtual reality games and to make public spaces safer.

Bribery 'hits 1.6 billion people a year'

Feb 27, 2015

A total of 1.6 billion people worldwide – nearly a quarter of the global population – are forced to pay bribes to gain access to everyday public services, according to a new book by academics at the Universities of Birmingham ...

Broken windows thesis springs a leak

Feb 27, 2015

The broken windows theory posits that minor misdemeanors, like littering or graffiti spraying, stimulate more serious anti-social behavior. LMU sociologists now argue that the idea is flawed and does not ...

User comments : 0

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.