Ever wondered why vertebrates have different modes of reproduction? These creatures with distinct spinal cord consists of some biggest living creature on the planet and smallest too. But researchers still didn’t have any idea why some of them lay eggs and some of them conceive babies inside their bodies. The team of Japanese scientists has found the answer for this riddle. The genetic switch which decides the mode of reproduction has been discovered. The switch decides what germ cell will become. (Sperm or eggs)
The name of the gene is foxl3. Medaka (Oryzias latipes), a small fish was used during the exploration. National Institute for Basic Biology professors Minoru Tanaka and Dr Toshiya Nishimura along with people from National Institutes of Natural Sciences based in Japan conducted this extensive study. The team discovered that a foxl3 gene comes in action when germs cells from females suppress the differentiation into sperm. The small number of eggs and sperms were found in ovaries of the female fish, which didn’t have foxl3 genes.
Nishimura, who was part of the team, said that the sperm was activated despite having female germ cells around. The sexual switch which makes the sperm active irrespective of sex of the body it is present has been found, according to Nishimura. Germ cell stores all genetic information of the organism and carries forward the same to the next generation. The vertebrates posses switch which instructs them to get converted in sperm or egg as per their luck. The detailed study has been published in the scientific journal ‘Science’.