SEA URCHIN RESEARCH: MILESTONES, MEMORIES, AND FUTURE CHALLENGES

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Abstract

The sea urchin eggs and embryos have been used for nearly twocenturies as experimental models for classical and moderndevelopmental biology. In the late 1870s, the ground-breakingobservations independently obtained by Hertwig and Fol highlightedfor the first time that a single sperm enters the oocyteand the male and female pronuclei fuse at fertilization.1 Fromthat point on, the seminal studies of Boveri, Driesch, and Herbstallowed conceptualization of basic biological themes, such asthe chromosome theory of heredity.2 In the first half of thetwentieth century, the embryo manipulation experiments performedby Hörstadius and Runnström further advanced thefield, introducing the concept of morphogens double gradient.3Later on, with the flowering of molecular biology and the adventof new technologies, scientists of the caliber of Hultin, Monroy,and Davidson emphasized that this echinoderm also representsan excellent model for studying the molecular basis of embryogenesis.2 In the post-genomic era, the sea urchin embryo continuedto be an unsurpassed model for determining the molecularmechanisms responsible for creating a multicellular organism,mainly because of its relative inexpensiveness, optical transparency,rapid synchronous development, and amenability to performa powerful arsenal of experimental procedures.4 Althoughnowadays the carrying capacity is much lower than in yearspast, the sea urchin embryo is still a convenient model to studygene regulatory networks,5 response to environmentalstressors,6 biomineralization,7 stem cell properties,8 andcancer.9 Undoubtedly, the breath of all this research makes itclear that the sea urchin embryo could help further generationsof investigators to reveal the unsolved mysteries of life.1. Ernst SG. Am Zool 1997;37:250-9.2. Ernst SG. Dev Biol 2011;358:285-94.3. Runnström J. Springer 1975;646-70.4. Ettensohn CA et al. Methods Cell Biol 2004;vol 74.5. Peter I and Davidson EH. 2015;Academic press.6. Matranga V et al. Prog Mol Subcell Biol 2005;Springer.7. Adomako-Ankomah A and Ettensohn CA. Genesis 2014;52:158-72.8. Wessel GM. Curr Top Dev Biol 2016;117:553-66.9. Saunders LR and McClay DR. Development 2014;141:1503-13.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-1
Numero di pagine1
RivistaEUROPEAN JOURNAL OF HISTOCHEMISTRY
Volume61
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2017

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