The biology and chemistry of fertilization

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Science  30 Jan 1987:
Vol. 235, Issue 4788, pp. 553-560
DOI: 10.1126/science.3027891


Fertilization of eggs by sperm, the means by which sexual reproduction takes place in nearly all multicellular organisms, is fundamental to the maintenance of life. In both mammals and nonmammals, the pathway that leads to fusion of an egg with a single sperm consists of many steps that occur in a compulsory order. These steps include species-specific cellular recognition, intracellular and intercellular membrane fusions, and enzyme-catalyzed modifications of cellular investments. In several instances, the molecular mechanisms that underlie these events during mammalian fertilization are beginning to be revealed.

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