In many animals, early development of the embryo is characterized by synchronous, biphasic cell divisions. These cell divisions are controlled by maternally inherited proteins and RNAs. A critical question in developmental biology is how the embryo transitions to a later pattern of asynchronous cell divisions and transfers the prior maternal control of development to the zygotic genome. The most-common model regarding how this transition from maternal to zygotic control is regulated posits that this is a consequence of the limitation of maternal gene products, due to their titration during early cell divisions. Here we discuss a recent article by Crest et al.(1) that instead proposes that the balance of Cyclin-dependent Kinase 1 and Cyclin B (Cdk1-CycB) activity relative to that of the Drosophila checkpoint kinase Chk1 determines when asynchronous divisions begin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-952
Number of pages4
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2007


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