Feb 29, 2012Science and Technology
There may be more to sperm than fertilization, fruit fly sperm cells could serve as model

Recently, long-held assumptions about the function of sperm have been challenged as different components of sperm cells have been implicated in fertilization. Now researchers from Arizona State University and the Universities of Cambridge and Bath have examined these new findings and found that the sperm cells of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) might be able to serve as a model for human sperm in determining sperm’s possible role in embryo development, post fertilization. This new research suggests, that mRNA transcripts (found in both fruit fly and human sperm cells) may not just be remnants left behind from transcription, but serve a functional role. The fruit fly sperm may further help in understanding the potential role sperm plays after fertilization. “The observed evolutionary conservation raises the exciting possibility that Drosophila can be used as an effective model organism for elucidating the function of sperm-derived mRNAs in both fertilization and early embryonic development,” Timothy Karr, a researcher at ASU involved in the study, said.

Relevant Locations: Arizona State University, 2 Matthew Center, Tempe, AZ 85287-0001, USA
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