Molecular structure of maternal RNA. Academic Article uri icon


  • The presence of a stable maternal mRNA population in mature oocytes of many species is well established. In this paper we show that the mature egg contains, in addition to these mature mRNAs, a structurally more complex population of RNA transcripts. This latter class of RNA consists of polyadenylated transcripts of repetitive and nonrepetitive DNA elements covalently linked into long interspersed molecules. As much as seventy percent of the polyadenylated egg RNA of Xenopus laevis and Strongylocentrotus purpuratus is represented in this interspersed population. Most of the nonrepetitive DNA sequences represented in the mature mRNA population are also present in the interspersed RNA. These transcripts have an organization similar to that of somatic cell nuclear RNA. Data are presented that suggests some of these interspersed maternal transcripts are unprocessed precursor-like molecules. Some possible functions of this novel class of RNA during early development are discussed.

published proceedings

  • Chromosoma

author list (cited authors)

  • Thomas, T. L., Posakony, J. W., Anderson, D. M., Britten, R. J., & Davidson, E. H.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Thomas, TL||Posakony, JW||Anderson, DM||Britten, RJ||Davidson, EH

publication date

  • December 1981