It found the gene that determines will gamete sperm or egg

Japanese geneticists have found an unusual fish in the DNA gene determines whether there is sex cell sperm or ovum, and changed his work so that in the ovaries of female fish began to form sperm and in the testes of males - the egg, according to a paper published in the journal Science.

“We knew that gametes can be converted in the sperm and the egg, but no one suggests that these cells are in the body of vertebrates possess specific genomic” switch “that determines their fate - to become a sperm or egg cell. Our results It shows that the cell is able to independently go all the way. This is a very important and unexpected discovery “- quoted by RIA” Novosti “scientist Minoru Tanaka of Japan Institute of General Biology in Okazaki city.

Tanaka and his colleagues have made an unusual discovery, watching the development of germ cells in the testes and ovaries rice-fish medaka (Oryzias latipes). During the maturation of sperm and egg cells, scientists monitor changes in the level of activity of different genes, trying to find the differences between the future male and female germ cells.

He attracted the attention of researchers gene foxl3 - “backup copy” gene foxl2, which is responsible for the growth of eggs and maintaining their existence in the expectant mother. The role and the work of biologists foxl3 little interest so far remained unknown.

How do I find the authors, foxl3 is a kind of sexual “switch” active position which means that the gamete turn into an egg, and then - in the eggs, and the off - in the sperm.

To test this hypothesis, Japanese biologists have gone on an unusual experiment - they damaged the gene in embryos of female rice fish, and force “included” foxl3 in male germ cells of the future.

This method has led to surprising results - when medaka were born in the testes of the stronger sex individuals began to form the egg, and in the ovaries of females - are the real sperm. When germ cells are grown, the researchers removed them out of the fish’s body and check if they can give life to a new generation of fish.

As it turned out, these were quite viable gametes - “female” sperm successfully penetrated the egg females in the control group and those given a healthy offspring, and “male” fertilized egg and turned into embryos.

What does this mean? Firstly, the existence of this “switch” may explain why some species of snakes and fish saws are capable of self-fertilization. This is supported by the fact that in the womb of the female medaka, despite the damage foxl3, attended by several eggs, which by the end of the experiment proved to be fertilized.

12 June 2015

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