Press Releases

Egg cell maintenance: Long-lived proteins may be essential

Female mammals, including humans, are born with all of their egg cells. Some egg cells therefore survive for several decades – and need to remain functional over this long time. Extremely long-lived proteins in the ovary seem to play an important role in this and may help maintain fertility for as long as possible. more

<b>Protein stock for the beginning of a new life</b>

Until a mammalian embryo implants in the uterus, the egg cell has to supply it with everything it needs to survive, including essential proteins. Researchers have now elucidated how egg cells store these proteins. Their experiments also provide important insights into how errors in protein storage can lead to infertility. Structures of the egg cell that have puzzled scientists for over 60 years play a crucial role in this. more

A missing ‘motor’ causes our eggs to fail<br /> 

Human eggs are missing an important motor protein, which helps to separate the chromosomes correctly during cell division. Introducing this protein into eggs opens up new avenues for therapeutic approaches that could reduce chromosome segregation errors.

<span>Errors at the start of life</span>

Researchers at the institute in collaboration with the Institute of Farm Animal Genetics in Mariensee and other international colleagues, developed a new model system for studying early embryonic development. With the help of this system, they discovered that the process when genetic material from each parent combines immediately after fertilization is remarkably inefficient. more

<p><strong>Why egg cells become error-prone with age</strong></p>

For women, the biological clock starts ticking by their mid-30s at the latest: Fertility decreases, the risk of miscarriages increases. One of the main reasons behind both are eggs with altered chromosome numbers. It has remained largely unclear, however, why eggs from older women more frequently possess too many or too few chromosomes. A German-English research team has now discovered that certain structures on the egg’s chromosomes age and fall apart, possibly promoting incorrect chromosome distribution. 

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