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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.  more

For women to give birth to a healthy child, their eggs have to halve their set of chromosomes before fertilization in a sensitive process. Melina Schuh and her team have now discovered a previously unknown structure in mammalian eggs that is indispensable for the error-free distribution of chromosomes. The findings contribute to a better understanding of how mammalian eggs are prepared for fertilization. more

To trim away a protein

November 16, 2017

To remove a protein from a cell, researchers can currently typically use two methods: genome editing by CRISPR/Cas, and RNA interference. They act on the level of DNA or RNA, respectively. However, their influence on protein amounts is indirect and takes time. German and UK scientists now present a new method, Trim-Away, which makes it possible to directly and quickly deplete a protein from any cell type. As Trim-Away can distinguish between different variants of a protein, it also opens up new venues for the therapy of diseases. more

The maturation process of mammalian egg cells is highly error-prone. If in humans, for instance, chromosomes are not reliably segregated during egg maturation, this may lead to spontaneous abortion or chromosomal anomalies such as Down Syndrome. Scientists at the MPI for Biophysical Chemistry now show in the mouse model that the structural protein actin protects egg cells from mistakes during chromosome segregation. more

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