Scientists at Paradigm Therapeutics, in following the company's practice of naming "orphan" genes -- those whose functions are unknown -- after famous orphans, have announced the gene they named Harry Potter appears to "trigger the cascade of hormones required for sexual reproduction."
[The gene, now called GPR54] receives a hormone from the brain and triggers a complex biochemical process that leads eventually to production of sex steroids from the testes and ovaries.
"As it turned out, Peter Pan would have been a better name," said Dr. Samuel Aparicio, chief scientist of Paradigm. Mice in which the Harry Potter gene was inactivated failed to undergo the sexual maturation that normally occurs at puberty.
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