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Molecular evolution: Sperm-making origins

Cited research PLoS Genet. 6, e1001022 (2010)

A gene similar to one in humans linked to sperm production has been found in representative organisms from each of the major animal lineages. This suggests that some components of sperm production have been conserved for at least 600 million years and that sperm generation in animals has a common origin.

Eugene Xu and his colleagues at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, analysed DNA sequences in animals ranging from mice to snails, and found a gene very similar to BOULE, a human reproductive gene. A closer look at mice, chickens and sea urchins revealed that the gene was expressed mainly in the testis. Deleting the gene in mice resulted in sterility only in males, which was due to a lack of sperm in the testes.

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Molecular evolution: Sperm-making origins. Nature 466, 417 (2010).

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