There is a lot to learn: sea creature life, produces sex cells

the shells of dead hermit crabs often find the creature, whose life can hardly be called outstanding. However, it has become the object of extensive research biologists. The fact that the animal has a rare feature: it is able to produce eggs and sperm throughout his life.

Curious? We are talking about a creature of the genus Hydractinia. As scientists have found, it is able to produce the primary germ cells (SPCS), which are precursors of eggs and sperm throughout his life.

meanwhile, people and most other mammals produce a certain amount of primary sex cells only once in my life. Later eggs and sperm can be formed over a long period of time of a predetermined number of SPCS, but their number is limited (because of the limitations themselves PPK). Accordingly, the loss of these primary germ cells due to any cause leads to infertility because the person has no opportunity to replenish their initial supply of such cells.

an international group of scientists first sequenced the DNA of creatures and studied the genome of Hydractinia, in order to better understand the reproductive features of the creatures.

it is worth to mention that these sea creatures than man from the standpoint of physiology. But we have many similar genes. Therefore, scientists believe these animals are an important model for studying many of the issues associated with biology and human health.

In the end, the specialists have discovered that a gene called Tfap2 is a kind of switch: it controls the process of continuous production of primordial germ cells.

using the method of gene editing CRISPR-Cas9, scientists removed the gene Tfap2. It turned out that it stopped the formation of the PPK. Experts also found that this gene causes adult stem cells of sea creatures to mutate into the primary germ cells.

inteinteresting, the Tfap2 gene regulates the production of primary sex cells in humans (he is also involved in a huge number of other processes). This means that the study of this unique feature of the inhabitants of the ocean can potentially provide guidance on the development of human reproductive system and the formation of reproductive conditions and diseases in humans, experts conclude.

Scientific article on the results of a study published in the online edition of Science.

Earlier, the “News.Science” ( wrote about what surprised scientists the holders of the longest reproductive organs, and why sperm reindeer hamsters prefer team play. Text: News.Science