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Tuesday 8th January 2013: "The spark of life - how the sperm activates the egg to become an embryo and what happens when things go wrong"

The activation of the egg by the sperm to develop into an embryo is one of life's fundamental biological events. The mechanism whereby the sperm activates the egg has been a subject of scientific interest for over a century.

Studies by Dr Parrington and his colleagues have shown that egg activation across the vertebrate kingdom is triggered by a sperm protein, PLCzeta, that causes cyclical changes in the concentration of calcium ions in the egg. Recently Dr Parrington has identified infertile men who have defects in their PLCzeta protein.

Such egg activation defects have been bypassed clinically by artifically introducing calcium into the egg, resulting in scores of successful births. However, important questions remain about the safety of such approaches and how we might improve the diagnosis and treatment of egg activation defects in the future.

Come along and join us at 7:30pm in the Science Oxford Live venue, St Clement's, Oxford.
Doors open at 7pm, free access to the SO Live Discovery Zone included during the evening.
No ticket, no booking, no scientific background required.

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