Maternal messages to live by: a personal historical perspective

Mary Lou King

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In the 1980s, the study of localized maternal mRNAs was just emerging as a new research area. Classic embryological studies had linked the inheritance of cytoplasmic domains with specific cell lineages, but the underlying molecular nature of these putative determinants remained a mystery. The model system Xenopus would play a pivotal role in the progress of this new field. In fact, the first localized maternal mRNA to be identified and cloned from any organism was Xenopus vg1, a TGF-beta family member. This seminal finding opened the door to many subsequent studies focused on how RNAs are localized and what functions they had in development. As the field moves into the future, Xenopus remains the system of choice for studies identifying RNA/protein transport particles and maternal RNAs through RNA-sequencing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere23007
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Xenopus
  • cytoplasmic determinants
  • germline
  • localized RNAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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