Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Parental controls on embryonic development?

Date:
January 24, 2012
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
When a sperm fertilizes an egg, each contributes a set of chromosomes to the resulting embryo, which at these very early stages is called a zygote. Early on, zygotic genes are inert, so embryonic development is largely controlled by parental factors. The activation of the zygotic genome therefore represents an important transition toward a more autonomous mode of embryonic development, and has been the subject of much speculation and scrutiny. Now a new study suggests that the reach of parental control in the embryo may be longer than we thought.

When a sperm fertilizes an egg, each contributes a set of chromosomes to the resulting embryo, which at these very early stages is called a zygote. Early on, zygotic genes are inert, so embryonic development is largely controlled by parental factors. The activation of the zygotic genome therefore represents an important transition toward a more autonomous mode of embryonic development, and has been the subject of much speculation and scrutiny.

Now, a new study published by Cell Press on December 1st in the journal Developmental Cell suggests that the reach of parental control in the embryo may be longer than we thought.

It is known that in sperm, certain DNA-binding proteins called histones are modified in special ways, at specific genes that are switched on in the embryo. Could these marks actually be passed on from sperm to embryo, to determine how genes are controlled in the offspring? Or are they erased for the zygote to start anew? In a collaborative effort between multiple institutions lead by Prof. Philippe Collas from the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research, scientists examined the marks on histones in fish zygotes before and after zygotic genome activation and found evidence that many of the same histone marks seen in sperm are also present in the zygote before genome activation… and these same marks appear to predict which genes will be activated later during development.

Thus, it seems that there is a "pre-pattern," made with direct input from the parents, guiding development even after zygotic genome activation. As suggested by Prof. Collas in the study, "early developmental instructions may be provided by specific marking of the sperm and egg genomes by modified histones, which may be transmitted to the embryo through fertilization."

This study was a collaboration between the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, the University of Birmingham, the Genome Institute of Singapore, the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Leif C. Lindeman, Ingrid S. Andersen, Andrew H. Reiner, Nan Li, Håvard Aanes, Olga Østrup, Cecilia Winata, Sinnakaruppan Mathavan, Ferenc Müller, Peter Aleström, Philippe Collas. Prepatterning of Developmental Gene Expression by Modified Histones before Zygotic Genome Activation. Developmental Cell, 2011; 21 (6): 993 DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2011.10.008

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Parental controls on embryonic development?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111201125141.htm>.
Cell Press. (2012, January 24). Parental controls on embryonic development?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111201125141.htm
Cell Press. "Parental controls on embryonic development?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111201125141.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — Parks officials in Stevens Point, Wisconsin had a fowl problem. Canadian Geese were making a mess of a park, so officials enlisted cardboard versions of man's best friend. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
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