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: New 'Surveyman' software promises to revolutionize survey design and accuracy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bio researchers receive patent to fight superbugs

Oct 07, 2014

Superbugs, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, have been on the rise since antibiotics were first introduced 80 years ago. That's because these germ-fighting agents have lost their punch from being overprescribed ...

Scientists map protein in living bacterial cells

Sep 04, 2014

(Phys.org) —Scientists have for the first time mapped the atomic structure of a protein within a living cell. The technique, which peered into cells with an X-ray laser, could allow scientists to explore ...

DNA may have had humble beginnings as nutrient carrier

Sep 01, 2014

New research intriguingly suggests that DNA, the genetic information carrier for humans and other complex life, might have had a rather humbler origin. In some microbes, a study shows, DNA pulls double duty ...

Recommended for you

Remains of French ship being reassembled in Texas

21 hours ago

A frigate carrying French colonists to the New World that sank in a storm off the Texas coast more than 300 years ago is being reassembled into a display that archeologists hope will let people walk over ...

User comments : 0