Genes required for the common miracle of fertilization in Caenorhabditis elegans
Published: 1 July 2008
Andrew Singson*, Julie S. Hang and Jean M. Parry
Waksman Institute and Department of Genetics, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA
Fertilization involves multiple layers of sperm-egg interactions that lead to gamete fusion and egg activation. There must be specific molecules required for these interactions. The challenge is to determine the identity of the genes encoding these molecules and how their protein products function. The nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans has emerged as an efficient model system for gene discovery and understanding the molecular mechanisms of fertilization. The primary advantage of the C. elegans system is the ability to isolate and maintain mutants that affect sperm or eggs and no other cells. In this review we describe progress and challenges in the analysis of genes required for gamete interactions and egg activation in the worm.