Maternal control of gamete choice during fertilization
Published: 23 June 2020
Department of Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Colaba, Mumbai, India
Sexually reproducing organisms generate male and female haploid gametes, which meet and fuse at fertilization to produce a diploid zygote. The evolutionary process of speciation is achieved and maintained by ensuring that gametes undergo productive fusion only within a species. In animals, hybrids from cross-species fertilization events may develop normally, but are usually sterile (Fitzpatrick, 2004). Metazoan sperm and eggs have several features to ensure that the gametes, which have evolved independently and also in conflict with each other, are competent to undergo fertilization (Firman, 2018). Fertilization is a specific process that is ideally supposed to result in randomized fusion of compatible egg and sperm. Here, I will discuss key processes driven by maternal factors in the egg that dictate earliest stages of gamete recognition, gamete choice and fusion in metazoans.