was that it combined imaging and DNA-based techniques to assess plankton diversity. “We know a lot about how to process DNA sequence information. But the images are much more complicated. We observe many different morphologies and behaviors of these organisms. There are many new and unknown interactions between them yet to be discovered,” Bowler emphasizes. This finding opens the way to knowing ” what happens and, therefore, diagnosing an infertility problem , as well as trying to produce a contraceptive, ” says Manuel Avilés, one of the UMU researchers. Since, according to the expert, although “mutations that affect ZP4 in the human population are not frequent and have a low probability, there are several harmful mutations in the human

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genome.” Likewise, the discovery would make it possible to New Zealand Phone Number List control the population of some animals that become pests and “generate a high cost and impact on native species,” explains Avilés Sánchez. This work, published in the eLife magazine , has been developed in a sample of genetically modified rabbits through CRISPR technology, the first mutation technique in rabbits carried out in Spain. ZP4 and its function The zona pellucida is a matrix that surrounds the ovum and the embryo before being implanted –blastocyst-. In humans, and in most mammals, it is composed of four proteins (ZP1, ZP2, ZP3, and ZP4) involved in its formation, structure, and sperm recognition. The function of these proteins was discovered by experimenting in mice,

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however, that of ZP4 could not be known, since these rodents only have three proteins in the zona pellucida. Therefore, through a genetic modification in rabbits -which do have this protein-, they eliminated the ZP4 gene and “most were infertile, only one had a smaller litter, but the general behavior was infertility”, clarifies Manuel Aviles. Along these lines, the finding allows us to know that the protein has a structural role in the zona pellucida and, therefore, functions as protection for the embryo before it is implanted . Furthermore, by eliminating the ZP4 protein from the animal, the embryo does not become implanted as long as fertilization is in vivo – naturally. However, implantation occurs perfectly when it is done in vitro , so “the zona pellucida with ZP4

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