Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene required to maintain male sex throughout life discovered: Loss of gene Dmrt1 leads to male cells becoming female

Date:
July 20, 2011
Source:
University of Minnesota
Summary:
Researchers have made a key discovery showing that male sex must be maintained throughout life. Removing an important male development gene, called Dmrt1, causes male cells in mouse testis to become female cells.

University of Minnesota Medical School and College of Biological Sciences researchers have made a key discovery showing that male sex must be maintained throughout life.

The research team, led by Drs. David Zarkower and Vivian Bardwell of the U of M Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, found that removing an important male development gene, called Dmrt1, causes male cells in mouse testis to become female cells.

The findings are published online July 20 in Nature.

In mammals, sex chromosomes (XX in female, XY in male) determine the future sex of the animal during embryonic development by establishing whether the gonads will become testes or ovaries.

"Scientists have long assumed that once the sex determination decision is made in the embryo, it's final," Zarkower said. "We have now discovered that when Dmrt1 is lost in mouse testes -- even in adults -- many male cells become female cells and the testes show signs of becoming more like ovaries."

Previous research has shown that removing a gene, called Foxl2, in ovaries caused female cells to become male cells and the ovaries to become more like testes. According to Zarkower, the latest U of M research determines that the gonads of both sexes must actively maintain the original sex determination decision throughout the remainder of life.

For the genetic research community this new understanding is a breakthrough. The findings provide new insight into how to turn one cell type into another, a process known as reprogramming, and also show that throughout life, cells in the testis must be actively prevented from transforming into female cells normally found in the ovary.

"This work shows that sex determination in mammals can be surprisingly prone to change, and must be actively maintained throughout an organism's lifetime," said Dr. Susan Haynes, who oversees developmental biology grants at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. "These new insights have important implications for our understanding of how to reprogram cells to take on different identities, and may shed light on the origin of some human sex reversal disorders."

The new findings may force the scientific community to reconsider how disorders involving human sex-reversal occur. Some of these disorders may not result from errors in the original sex determination decision in the embryo, but instead may result from failure to maintain that decision later in embryonic development. In addition, because DMRT1 has been associated with human gonadal cancers, the researchers hope their findings will provide another clue into how gonadal cancer develops.

Drs. Clinton Matson and Mark Murphy of the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, and Dr. Aaron Sarver of the U of M Masonic Cancer Center were instrumental in performing these studies. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota. "Gene required to maintain male sex throughout life discovered: Loss of gene Dmrt1 leads to male cells becoming female." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110720142520.htm>.
University of Minnesota. (2011, July 20). Gene required to maintain male sex throughout life discovered: Loss of gene Dmrt1 leads to male cells becoming female. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110720142520.htm
University of Minnesota. "Gene required to maintain male sex throughout life discovered: Loss of gene Dmrt1 leads to male cells becoming female." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110720142520.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
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