The Marine Biological Laboratory has a long history with work on the cell cycle and its related processes and molecules. Marine species are chosen for much work in development and genetics due to the large amounts of eggs, sperm, and embryos they produce, the level at which we understand their DNA, and (for much of the early time at the MBL) their accessibility. arine species - like surf clams (Spisula solidissima) and sea urchins (Arbacia punctulata) - have helped researchers at the MBL discover and determine the function of cyclins (proteins that control the cell cycle), outline much of the cell cycle, and also determine some of the genetics behind how cells grow and divide.
Work on cell cycle regulation at the MBL began in 1979 in the lab of Joan Ruderman and continued with the discovery of cyclins by Tim Hunt in 1982. In the years following, MBL investigators like Marc Kirschner and John Gerhart contributed further to our understanding of the beginning of the cell cycle, and in 1991, MBL visitor Avram Hershko explained the end of the cell cycle and the degradation of cyclins.