Vertebrate maternal-effect genes: Insights into fertilization, early cleavage divisions, and germ cell determinant localization from studies in the zebrafish

Mol Reprod Dev. 2010 Apr;77(4):299-313. doi: 10.1002/mrd.21128.


In the earliest stages of animal development prior to the commencement of zygotic transcription, all critical cellular processes are carried out by maternally-provided molecular products accumulated in the egg during oogenesis. Disruption of these maternal products can lead to defective embryogenesis. In this review, we focus on maternal genes with roles in the fundamental processes of fertilization, cell division, centrosome regulation, and germ cell development with emphasis on findings from the zebrafish, as this is a unique and valuable model system for vertebrate reproduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / physiology
  • Centrosome / metabolism
  • Chromosome Segregation
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian* / cytology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian* / physiology
  • Embryonic Development / physiology*
  • Fertilization / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Germ Cells* / cytology
  • Germ Cells* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish / genetics*
  • Zebrafish / physiology
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins / metabolism


  • Zebrafish Proteins