Editors' ChoiceDevelopmental Biology

Meiosis in the Making

Science Signaling  16 Dec 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 50, pp. ec435
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.150ec435

Diploid organisms, including humans, have two sets of chromosomes in every somatic cell. Sexual organisms must necessarily make haploid gametes—sperm and eggs with only one set of chromosomes—so that the diploid state is maintained when gametes fuse to form an embryo. The specialized cell division process that generates gametes is known as meiosis and is initiated by the extrinsic factor retinoic acid. Lin et al. show that the mouse RNA-binding protein DAZL (Deleted in azoospermia-like) acts as a complementary intrinsic factor in the initiation of meiosis in a newly posited germ cell-cell state, the meiosis-competent gonocyte. Thus, meiotic initiation in mammals is governed by the cell-intrinsic competence factor DAZL and the extrinsic inducing signal, retinoic acid.

Y. Lin, M. E. Gill, J. Koubova, D. C. Page, Germ cell–intrinsic and –extrinsic factors govern meiotic initiation in mouse embryos. Science 322, 1685–1687 (2008). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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