Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Males Produce Sperm And Females Produce Eggs

Date:
April 4, 2006
Source:
University of Queensland
Summary:
An Australian research team has solved one of biology's most fundamental questions -- why males produce sperm and females produce eggs. The finding is a breakthrough that could lead to improved infertility treatment, cancer therapy and pest management.

An Australian research team has solved one of biology's most fundamental questions – why males produce sperm and females produce eggs. The finding is a breakthrough that could lead to improved infertility treatment, cancer therapy and pest management.

The team, led by Dr Josephine Bowles and Professor Peter Koopman from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at The University of Queensland, has discovered that derivatives of Vitamin A trigger the beginning of egg and sperm production, a process known as meiosis.

The cells that eventually turn into either eggs or sperm – known as germ cells – are identical in male and female embryos.

“Whether a germ cell develops into an egg or a sperm depends on the time at which meiosis begins,” Professor Koopman said.

“In females, meiosis begins before birth and eggs are produced, whereas in males, meiosis begins after birth and the result is sperm.”

Professor Koopman and his team found that retinoic acid, a derivative of Vitamin A, causes germ cells in female embryos to begin meiosis, leading to the production of eggs.

They also discovered an enzyme present in male embryos that wipes out retinoic acid and so suppresses meiosis until after birth, resulting in sperm production.

“This is an extremely important process that nobody has been able to figure out until now,” Professor Koopman said.

“It is textbook science and it should provide the basis for a number of practical applications.”

Knowledge of what triggers and suppresses meiosis may allow researchers to improve fertility, for example in the case of an infertile couple wanting a baby, or suppress it, in the case of pest management.

Professor Koopman also suggested that an inappropriate retinoid signal might give the wrong instructions to germ cells, which could lead to the formation of germ cell tumours.

“Our research has suggested a possible cause for these common testicular cancers, opening up avenues of investigation which will hopefully one day lead to a cure,” Professor Koopman said.

The findings of the team will be published in one of the world's top scientific journals Science and will be available in its online version, SciencExpress, from March 31.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Queensland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Queensland. "Why Males Produce Sperm And Females Produce Eggs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060404090939.htm>.
University of Queensland. (2006, April 4). Why Males Produce Sperm And Females Produce Eggs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060404090939.htm
University of Queensland. "Why Males Produce Sperm And Females Produce Eggs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060404090939.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins