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Sea Urchin

The molecular processes that drive cell division in all organisms led to the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2001.

Research has found that the key to species-specific fertilisation in sea urchins is a sperm protein called bindin. While mammal eggs – mouse and human, for instance – don’t have a thick jelly coating like sea urchin eggs, they do have complex sugars on the surface, and it is likely that these sugars attach to sperm cell proteins to trigger reproduction.

Understanding the reproductive processes of sea urchins could lead to solutions for human reproductive problems, including new approaches to contraception.

 


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