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Education and Outreach Programs

Lindblom Math & Science Academy ESRP 2013

Is Zinc Retained in the Activated Zona Pellucida After Fertilization?


  • Students:
    • Fiona Hill
    • Anissa James
    • Keeayla Jones
  • Teachers:
    • Carol Namowicz
  • Mentors:
    • Sophie-Charlotte Gleber (Argonne National Laboratory)
    • Antonio Lanzirotti (University of Chicago, GSECARS)
    • Thomas O’Halloran (Northwestern University)
    • Emily Que (Northwestern University)
    • Stefan Vogt (Argonne National Laboratory, XSD)
    • Teresa Woodruff (Northwestern University)

Advanced Photon Source Sector 13: GSECARS; Advanced Photon Source Sector 2: Microscopy

Research has recently been conducted describing the role of zinc in mammalian oocyte maturation and their ability to develop into embryos. Using mouse oocytes and zinc-specific fluorescent probes, researchers detected a zinc spike at the time of fertilization. What had not been investigated is whether the activated/fertilized zona pellucida retains the zinc that is released. The experiment used synchrotron based X-ray fluorescence microscopy on isolated zona to measure whether the zinc was retained. Preliminary results confirm our hypothesis that the zinc would pass through the zona and not be retained at appreciable levels.

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