SEP 17, 2015 01:30 PM PDT

Life Begins With an Egg and a Sperm Cell...Then What?

Due to a lack in the development of reliable experimental systems for studying human embryos, there is currently not much known about the development of human germ cells. A germ cell is a type of cell that gives rise to an organism which is able to reproduce sexually. Once the egg and the sperm cell come together to form a reproductive cell, they are then called a gamete. A gamete is a haploid cell, meaning it contains a single set of 23 chromosomes containing human DNA. In the very beginning stages of germ cell development abnormalities within the germline can occur, giving rise to a variety of critical conditions including infertility, impaired development, as well as genetic and epigenetic disorders.
Because of the limitations in access to relevant materials as well as the controversy surrounding human stem cell research, there is a critical lack of information surrounding the mechanisms for germ cell development in humans.
Researchers at Kyoto University have sought out to determine the cause of these abnormalities through the development of a human germ cell model. What we currently know about germ cell development is due to research performed using a mouse model organism. While using this model has provided a great deal of valuable information, there are significant differences in the precise mechanisms for germ cell development among mammalian species. Because of the limitations in access to relevant materials as well as the controversy surrounding human stem cell research, there is a critical lack of information surrounding the mechanisms for germ cell development in humans.

In their study, researchers from Kyoto University explored the possibility of using a mouse germline to induce a human germ cellfate for the study of early human germ cell development. Through the development of this laboratory human germ cell line model, the research team was able to illustrate the transcription interactions and signaling events that occur during stem cell development. More importantly they were able to determine that epigenetic marks are “erased” at the beginning of germ cell development.

Through this research, the team hopes to be able to uncover the underlying mechanisms for conditions such as infertility.  Although the human germ cell line model is still in its early stages, their goal is to discover the mechanism throughout the entire developmental process from the embryo to adult. With the use of this model it may also possible to uncover the cause of newly identified epigenetic disorders, such as autism. It is expected that the impact of this research will be vast.

Source: MedicineNet; Cell Stem Cell; ScienceDaily
 
About the Author
  • I am a postdoctoral researcher with interests in pre-harvest microbial food safety, nonthermal food processing technologies, zoonotic pathogens, and plant-microbe interactions. My current research projects involve the optimization of novel food processing technologies to reduce the number of foodborne pathogens on fresh produce. I am a food geek!
You May Also Like
AUG 09, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
AUG 09, 2018
Observing Development at the Cellular Level
A new method can track the formation and movement of lipids, DNA and proteins in live cells....
AUG 28, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
AUG 28, 2018
A New Type of Cell is Discovered in the Human Brain
This cell type has never been observed in laboratory animals....
AUG 29, 2018
Neuroscience
AUG 29, 2018
Are Women's Brains Protected From Cosmic Rays?
Going to space is a dream for many. Astronauts are viewed almost as superheroes, but the dangers of space travel cannot be underestimated. On long trips, s...
SEP 24, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
SEP 24, 2018
Any Fracture can Lead to Bone Density Losses Everywhere
Broken bones cause a loss in bone density at the break. But new research has shown that it's not only the broken bone that loses integrity....
OCT 11, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 11, 2018
Nobel Chemistry Prize Winners Brought Artifical Selection Into Chemistry
Last Wednesday, Oct 3rd, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the winners of 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Frances H. Arnold, George P. Smith,...
OCT 14, 2018
Videos
OCT 14, 2018
An Ancient Genetic Element can Help Fight Cancer
Researchers have been trying a variety of ways to boost the immune system we all have so it's able to fight off cancer....
Loading Comments...