Induction of gametogenesis in the basal cnidarian Nematostella vectensis (Anthozoa)
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A protocol was established to reproducibly induce spawning in the basal cnidarian Nematostella vectensis (Anthozoa). We found that a combination of feeding regime, dark-light cycle and temperature shift synergistically induced gametogenesis in adult polyps. Females lay between 100–600 eggs. This procedure led reproducibly to the production of thousands of eggs over the course of more than 1 year in weekly cycles. Gametes are released in a time window of about 2 h resulting in predictable and fairly synchronized development. We also present a method for in vitro fertilization allowing manipulation of early embryos. These methods as well as the simple culture conditions could provide important prerequisites for the use of Nematostella as a model system for the development of a basal Metazoa.
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