Navigation Links
One big biology question solved

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 canc ers, 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 today (Friday 31March).


Source:Research Australia

Related biology news :

1. Molecular biology fills gaps in knowledge of bat evolution
2. Inexpensive, mass-produced genes core of synthetic biology advances at UH
3. Agilent Technologies releases automated literature search tool for biology researchers
4. Insight into DNAs weakest links may yield clues to cancer biology
5. Science study holds implications for gene therapy and stem cell biology
6. Agilent Technologies introduces advanced zebrafish, mouse microarrays for stem cell and developmental biology research
7. AACR Favors full spectrum of stem cell research biology
8. Breakthrough in micro-device fabrication combines biology and synthetic chemistry
9. Regenerating worms help elucidate stem cell biology
10. Scientists map one of biologys critical light-sensing structures
11. Largest computational biology simulation mimics life’s most essential nanomachine
Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/9/2016)... June 9, 2016 Paris ... Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the safety of people ... during the major tournament Teleste, an international ... and services, announced today that its video security solution will ... to back up public safety across the country. The system ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... The Department of Transport Management (DOTM) ... million US Dollar project, for the , Supply ... Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors participated ... was selected for the most compliant and innovative ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... NEW YORK , June 1, 2016 ... Biometric Technology in Election Administration and Criminal Identification to ... According to a recently released TechSci Research report, " ... Sector, By Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - ... $ 24.8 billion by 2021, on account of growing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016  Global demand for enzymes ... through 2020 to $7.2 billion.  This market includes ... cleaning products, biofuel production, animal feed, and other ... and biocatalysts). Food and beverages will remain the ... increasing consumption of products containing enzymes in developing ...
(Date:6/27/2016)...  Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: SQNM ), a ... the development of innovative products and services, announced today ... States denied its petition to review decisions ... U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 (",540 Patent") are not patent ... Supreme Court,s Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories decision.  ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... for clinical trials, announced today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT ... care circle with the physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... will join the faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business ... strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s international ...
Breaking Biology Technology: