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The molecular foundations of zygosis

  • Gareth Bloomfield
Review

Abstract

Zygosis is the generation of new biological individuals by the sexual fusion of gamete cells. Our current understanding of eukaryotic phylogeny indicates that sex is ancestral to all extant eukaryotes. Although sexual development is extremely diverse, common molecular elements have been retained. HAP2-GCS1, a protein that promotes the fusion of gamete cell membranes that is related in structure to certain viral fusogens, is conserved in many eukaryotic lineages, even though gametes vary considerably in form and behaviour between species. Similarly, although zygotes have dramatically different forms and fates in different organisms, diverse eukaryotes share a common developmental programme in which homeodomain-containing transcription factors play a central role. These common mechanistic elements suggest possible common evolutionary histories that, if correct, would have profound implications for our understanding of eukaryogenesis.

Keywords

Reproduction Syngamy Evolution Homeoproteins Mitochondria Archaea 

Notes

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Templebridge Bio LtdLondonUK

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