Gene of the month - Matrimony

13 November 2013

Interview with

Kat Arney

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And finally, our gene of the month is in search of the perfect union - it's called Matrimony. Found in fruit flies, the protein made from the Matrimony gene is stockpiled in female flies' egg cells, known as oocytes, together with another protein called cortex. It's responsible for holding together the chromosomes in the egg cells until they're ready to divide when the egg gets fertilised. The protein quickly vanishes once fertilisation happens, as it gets broken down and destroyed. Fly eggs with excessive levels of Matrimony don't develop properly, suggesting that the getting the right levels of the protein is essential for making healthy new flies.

If you're feeling less like a happy marriage, then you could always turn to the gene named after one of the unluckier wives in history. The biblical character Lot's wife is supposed to have turned back to look at her hometown of Sodom as she was fleeing from its destruction, and was turned into a pillar of salt. The fruit fly gene Lot's Wife,  also known as Drop Dead, is responsible for a range of jobs including how the animals respond to very salty conditions. 

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