Paternal RNA contributions in the Caenorhabditis elegans zygote


  • M. Stoeckius
  • D. Grün
  • N. Rajewsky


  • EMBO Journal


  • EMBO J 33 (16): 1740-1750


  • Development of the early embryo is thought to be mainly driven by maternal gene products and post-transcriptional gene regulation. Here, we used metabolic labeling to show that RNA can be transferred by sperm into the oocyte upon fertilization. To identify genes with paternal expression in the embryo, we performed crosses of males and females from divergent Caenorhabditis elegans strains. RNA sequencing of mRNAs and small RNAs in the 1-cell hybrid embryo revealed that about one hundred sixty paternal mRNAs are reproducibly expressed in the embryo and that about half of all assayed endogenous siRNAs and piRNAs are also of paternal origin. Together, our results suggest an unexplored paternal contribution to early development.