Tracking life's first step: Two molecules 'awaken' brand new genome

Within hours after fertilization, a unique genome forms from chromosomes contributed by the egg and sperm. However, this new genome is initially inactive and must be "awakened" to begin the transcription of its DNA and start ...

Environmental oxygen triggers loss of webbed digits

Free fingers have many obvious advantages on land, such as in locomotion and grasping, while webbed fingers are typical of aquatic or gliding animals. But both amphibians and amniotes—which include mammals, reptiles, and ...

Researchers discover a new gear in life's clock: Vitamin D

New research from Portland State University finds vitamin D, or a lack thereof can trigger or suspend embryonic development in a species of fish. The study also provides evidence suggesting the vitamin is critical to the ...

Stem cells organize themselves into pseudo-embryos

The definitive architecture of the mammalian body is established shortly after implantation of the embryo in the uterus. The antero-posterior, dorso-ventral and medio-lateral axes of the body become organized under the control ...

Maternal signals regulate embryo development in plants

While pregnancy in humans and seed development in plants look very different, parallels exist—not least that the embryo develops in close connection with the mother. In animals, a whole network of signals from the mother ...

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