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Dev Genes Evol. 2002 Mar;212(2):99-103. Epub 2002 Feb 21.

Induction of gametogenesis in the basal cnidarian Nematostella vectensis(Anthozoa).

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Molecular Cell Biology, Zoological Institute, Darmstadt University of Technology, Schnittspahnstrasse 10, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany.


A protocol was established to reproducibly induce spawning in the basal cnidarian Nematostella vectensis (Anthozoa). We found that a combination of feeding regime, dark-light cycle and temperature shift synergistically induced gametogenesis in adult polyps. Females lay between 100-600 eggs. This procedure led reproducibly to the production of thousands of eggs over the course of more than 1 year in weekly cycles. Gametes are released in a time window of about 2 h resulting in predictable and fairly synchronized development. We also present a method for in vitro fertilization allowing manipulation of early embryos. These methods as well as the simple culture conditions could provide important prerequisites for the use of Nematostella as a model system for the development of a basal Metazoa.

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