Research Article

Vertebrate diapause preserves organisms long term through Polycomb complex members

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Science  21 Feb 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6480, pp. 870-874
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw2601

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Putting vertebrate development on hold

Suspended animation is an often-used device in science fiction, but it also exists in several forms in nature: hibernation, torpor, and diapause. Hu et al. studied diapause in the African turquoise killifish, a vertebrate model system (see the Perspective by Van Gilst). They found that diapause protects a complex living organism without trade-offs for future growth, fertility, and even life span. Diapause is actively regulated, with a dynamic switch to specific Polycomb complex members. One Polycomb member, CBX7, is critical for the regulation of organ genes and is involved in muscle preservation and diapause maintenance. This work illuminates the mechanisms that underlie suspended life.

Science, this issue p. 870; see also p. 851

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