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: Cheater, cheater: Study shows what happens when employees feel excluded at work

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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 ...

'Zombie' bacteria are nothing to be afraid of

Aug 28, 2014

A cell is not a soap bubble that can simply pinch in two to reproduce. The ability to faithfully copy genetic material and distribute it equally to daughter cells is fundamental to all forms of life. Even ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0