Welcome to the Cornell Center for Reproductive Genomics



The CRG was founded in 2006 with a mission to promote state-of-the-art research in reproductive health and fertility. Our area of expertise focuses on, but is not limited to, gamete biology, with an emphasis on the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that regulate the formation of viable gametes for sexual reprodution. The strength of the center lies in its strong ties between the basic scienes, based largely on the Ithaca campus of Cornell, and the clinical sciences, focussed in Manhattan, NY, within the Weill Cornell Medical College. In addition, the translational aspects of research extend to our strong interests in animal health, due in part to the home college for the CRG being the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Our Areas of research focus include:

A. Small RNA biology


B. Klinefelter Syndrome


C. Meiosis and Germ Cell Development


CRG News

First Annual Retreat

The First Annual CRG Retreat in Reproductive and Developmental Genomics was held at Cornell Ithaca on June 14th and 15th. Sponsored by the editorial board of Molecular Reproduction and Development (MRD), and by Wiley Press, this event attracted researchers from all over the NorthEast. For more details, see the website. A meeting review will be published in MRD by trainees in our Center.

MARF1 in the Oocyte
In collaboration with a group led by John Eppig at The Jackson Laboratory, Schimenti and his colleagues found that a gene called Marf1 regulates diverse oogenic processes in mice, and is required for fully grown oocytes to conduct meiotic divisions. Marf1 encodes a protein with putative ribonuclease activity, and gene expression analysis revealed that several oocyte transcripts remained abnormally high. One such transcript encodes a phosphatase that prevents oocyte cell cycle progression, and there was also upregulation of repetitive elements, causing chromosomal breaks. The paper was published in Science in March 2012.
Argonautes in the Testis
The Cohen and Grimson labs have recently demonstrated that two members of the Argonaute small RNA-binding family, AGO3 and AGO4, are required for normal meiotic initiation and progression. Loss of AGO4 results in premature initiation of meiosis in neonatal male mice, as well as a loss of silencing of key Y-linked genes. These studies, published in Developmental Cell in August 2012, are the first to implicate AGO proteins, and their RNA binding partners, in mammalian gametes.
Breast Cancer Gene Identified
Cancerous tumors contain hundreds of mutations, and finding these mutations that result in uncontrollable cell growth is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. As difficult as this task is, it’s exactly what a team of scientists from Cornell University, the University of North Carolina, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, headed by Dr. John Schimenti, have done for one type of breast cancer. In a report appearing in the journal Genetics, Dr. Schimenti and his collaborators show that mutations in a gene called NF1 are prevalent in more than one-fourth of all noninheritable or spontaneous breast cancers. For more information, see press release.