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Impact of pH on oocyte fertilisation and the overrun of meiotic checkpoints leading to parthenogenetic development in Nereis virens

Lookup NU author(s): Paul Bouch, Emeritus Professor Peter Olive


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Whilst developing a fertilisation assay to quantify the onset of fertilisability in oocytes from cultured Nereis virens, development through to the blastula stage was observed within the negative control. In the absence of sperm, some oocytes re-initiated the cell cycle without fertilisation which is the usual cue in this species. Investigations showed that a lower pH of 6.6 significantly increased the incidence of this parthenogenetic development which was also observed to be more rapid than was observed in normal sperm fertilised development. Cleavage was reached within 3 h if no sperm were present, but took longer when the oocytes were fertilised with sperm. The parthenogenetic development is symptomatic of a breakdown between the environmental cues that would cause final maturation and spawning in wild animals and the re-initiation of meiosis. In culture systems, where sufficient environmental cues may be lacking, oocytes can attain an overripe "trigger happy" state where minor shocks can initiate development in the absence of sperm. The avoidance of this state in cultured animals is therefore an important management objective. © 2005 Balaban.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bouch PJ, Olive PJW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Invertebrate Reproduction and Development

Year: 2005

Volume: 48

Issue: 1-3

Pages: 1-5

ISSN (print): 0792-4259

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Balaban Publishers