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Role of paternal and maternal genomes in mouse development

Naturevolume 311pages374376 (1984) | Download Citation

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Abstract

There has been much speculation on whether mammalian eggs with two male pronuclei can develop normally. Eggs with two female pronuclei can sometimes develop as far as the 25-somite stage1–3 but with only very meagre extraembryonic tissues2,3. We suggested that the genome undergoes specific imprinting during gametogenesis3 and that some paternal genes may be necessary for normal development of the extraembryonic tissues3,4, in which only the maternal X chromosome remains active5–9. However, the need for the maternal genome for development to term is not yet unequivocally established. The detailed study described here demonstrates that while between 40 and 50% of heterozygous reconstituted eggs with a male and a female pronucleus develop to term, none of the eggs with two male pronuclei does so. Furthermore, embryos in the latter case are very retarded, even though the trophoblast develops relatively well compared with embryos having two female pronuclei1–3. Our combined results indicate that while the paternal genome is essential for the normal development of extraembryonic tissues, the maternal genome may be essential for some stages of embryogenesis.

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Affiliations

  1. AFRC Institute of Animal Physiology, 307 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 0JQ, UK

    • Sheila C. Barton
    • , M. A. H. Surani
    •  & M. L. Norris

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https://doi.org/10.1038/311374a0

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