Send to

Choose Destination
Development. 2009 Sep;136(18):3033-42. doi: 10.1242/dev.033183.

The maternal-to-zygotic transition: a play in two acts.

Author information

Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, 1 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


All animal embryos pass through a stage during which developmental control is handed from maternally provided gene products to those synthesized from the zygotic genome. This maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT) has been extensively studied in model organisms, including echinoderms, nematodes, insects, fish, amphibians and mammals. In all cases, the MZT can be subdivided into two interrelated processes: first, a subset of maternal mRNAs and proteins is eliminated; second, zygotic transcription is initiated. The timing and scale of these two events differ across species, as do the cellular and morphogenetic processes that sculpt their embryos. In this article, we discuss conserved and distinct features within the two component processes of the MZT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center