Skip to comments.Scientists crack genetic secrets of human egg
Posted on 09/06/2006 10:20:53 AM PDT by PatrickHenry
The human eggs ability to transform into a new life, or into new cells that may someday save lives, is well documented. The mystery lies in the mechanics in how a single cell can transform so nimbly.
Scientists at Michigan State University report this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they have identified genes unique to the human egg. The identification opens the way to understanding these genes functions, which may lead to solving problems from infertility to degenerative diseases.
Whats in the egg to have that power? asked Jose Cibelli, MSU professor of physiology and animal science. Some of those genes are responsible for the magic trick that the egg has. This paper takes a peek at what genes are in the egg waiting to make these changes.
Combined with sperm, the egg divides and organizes cells to ultimately create a human being.
Combined with technology, the unfertilized egg might be coaxed to produce other specific cells, including stem cells, which can be directed to grow into new tissue. This potential could be used to combat diseases.
Cibelli said his teams mission is to grow stem cells without using fertilized embryos, which can be controversial. This work used only unfertilized human eggs that were obtained from women seeking fertility treatment at a clinic in Santiago, Chile. Women at the clinic must be reproductively healthy, no older than 35, and the cause of infertility must lie within the man. This presented the availability of exceptionally healthy eggs, Cibelli said. All the donors granted informed consent for their surplus eggs to be used for this research.
Cibelli worked with researchers in Chile to extract the RNA from the unfertilized eggs soon after they were harvested. That material, a treasure of genetic information, was frozen and shipped to MSU.
Cibellis team, Arif Murat Kocabas, Pablo Ross, Zeki Beyhan and Robert Halgren, started analyzing the thousands of genes represented in the human egg to identify those which are unique to the egg. They teamed with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston to work with sophisticated bioinformatics software.
To make a comparison that would show which genes were uniquely active in the human egg, they used RNA of all parts of the human body except that of the ovaries, where eggs are produced.
Then the computer analysis began. In a highly sophisticated game of match, every gene in the egg that was found in other tissues was eliminated, so that only unique genes remained.
Cibelli said that the team identified 5,331 human genes that are overexpressed in the egg. Of those, 1,430 are mysteries their function unknown.
The group also compared the human egg genes with those of a mouse as well as human and mouse embryonic stem cells. On the final intersection, 66 genes were found to be common between the four sets of data.
There are thousands of genes that are redundant. We found about one in a thousand genes that are unique to the eggs and some of them, they dont have a known function yet, Cibelli said. Now we can clone these genes and put them into cells and see if they may have a role in the creation of stem cells without fertilization or destruction of human embryos.
Cibelli believes some of those genes know the big secrets such as when a cell should slow down and later become a cell that can grow into any cell of the human body. The computer work of this preliminary search will give way to further experiments.
This research was funded by the MSU Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, and supported by the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station.
Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 14 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.
Maybe MSU can use this to make another Charles Rogers/sarc
From my head down to my legs...........
I hope when they cracked they didn't get any shell in the whites.
"Everybody be nice."
The brain of the cell is in the cell wall. The DNA/RNA/genes are for reference only. This is how the fertilized egg suddenly turns into kevlar armored cell as soon as the first sperm touches it: the cell wall does the afferent and efferent thinking.
Ohhh, I hate that when it happens.........Biting down on a piece of shell is like fingernails on a chalkboard with me!.......
Wow - you hit evolution and embryonic (not really) stem cells all in one post!
Also, a large number of non-gene sequences (eg transcripts of repeat elements) are seen.
There are a lot of mysteries and the title of this is a misnomer. Biology is more mysterious than ever now because we know so much more which tells us so much we don't know.
A few years ago we wouldn't have known enough to know what we don't know.
And as far as this: Everybody be nice.
That always seems like an actual challenge or invitation to trade insults.
It's smarmy and rude.
What is well documented are untested claims that embryonic stem cells may provide new therapies for various diseases.
The identification opens the way to understanding these genes functions, which may lead to solving problems from infertility to degenerative diseases.
The key word here again is may. But nobody knows for sure.
This is great news!
The creator said he made them male and female according to their kind, and he made humans in his image...if so, why hermaphrodites? That's a question biblical theologians can't answer except "it's a mystery."
Glad evil scientists are actually studying and determining what makes things tick.
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In the eye of the beholder.
Thanks mightily :)
This is nothing to yolk about!
He has a very interesting site http://www.crl.msu.edu/