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Various different classes of RNAs contained in sperm cells have emerged as causal vectors for the transmission of acquired information from father to offspring. This has invigorated research and raised many new questions concerning the heritability of disease risk and the ability to adapt to novel environments. Here, we will focus on recent advances in the field of epigenetic germline inheritance in mammals, with a particular focus on the following three questions: (1) What is the current evidence for an involvement of sperm RNAs in the transmission of acquired information from father to offspring? (2) How can acquired changes in the sperm-RNA payload be induced in the male germline? (3) How can acquired changes be transferred from sperm to oocyte? We propose a novel mechanism for transfer of sperm RNA to the oocyte in a DNA/RNA-hybrid, possibly interacting with DNA-bound proteins, and suggest experiments that should advance our understanding of epigenetic germline inheritance.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Seminars in cell & developmental biology
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An assisted fertilization technique consisting of the microinjection of a single viable sperm into an extracted ovum. It is used principally to overcome low sperm count, low sperm motility, inability of sperm to penetrate the egg, or other conditions related to male infertility (INFERTILITY, MALE).
Interactive processes between the oocyte (OVUM) and the sperm (SPERMATOZOA) including sperm adhesion, ACROSOME REACTION, sperm penetration of the ZONA PELLUCIDA, and events leading to FERTILIZATION.
The structural and functional changes by which SPERMATOZOA become capable of oocyte FERTILIZATION. It normally requires exposing the sperm to the female genital tract for a period of time to bring about increased SPERM MOTILITY and the ACROSOME REACTION before fertilization in the FALLOPIAN TUBES can take place.
The maturing process of SPERMATOZOA after leaving the testicular SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES. Maturation in SPERM MOTILITY and FERTILITY takes place in the EPIDIDYMIS as the sperm migrate from caput epididymis to cauda epididymis.
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