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Trends Cell Biol. 1997 Nov;7(11):459-62.

What my mother told me: Examining the roles of maternal gene products in a vertebrate.


In Xenopus, mRNAs synthesized during oocyte differentiation are inherited by the egg and direct all protein synthesis until the late-blastula stage. This provides an opportunity to study the roles of maternally expressed genes in embryonic development of a vertebrate. Oocytes can be depleted of specific mRNAs by the injection of antisense deoxyoligonucleotides and then fertilized to assay for developmental abnormalities. The ease of experimental manipulation of early Xenopus embryos in culture gives considerable opportunity for the analysis of the abnormalities seen.

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