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RFD is the official journal of the International Embryo Transfer Society and the Society for Reproductive Biology.


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 22(1)

Mammalian oocyte development: checkpoints for competence

Trudee Fair

Veterinary Sciences Centre and Lyons Research Farm, School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland. Email: trudee.fair@ucd.ie
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During the lifespan of the female, biochemical changes occur in the ovarian environment. These changes are brought about by numerous endogenous and exogenous factors, including husbandry practices, production demands and disease, and can have a profound effect on ovarian oocyte quality and subsequent embryo development. Despite many investigations, there is no consensus regarding the time or period of follicular oocyte development that is particularly sensitive to insult. Here, the key molecular and morphological events that occur during oocyte and follicle growth are reviewed, with a specific focus on identifying critical checkpoints in oocyte development. The secondary follicle stage appears to be a key phase in follicular oocyte development because major events such as activation of the oocyte transcriptome, sequestration of the zona pellucida, establishment of bidirectional communication between the granulosa cells and the oocyte and cortical granule synthesis occur during this period of development. Several months later, the periovulatory period is also characterised by the occurrence of critical events, including appropriate degradation or polyadenylation of mRNA transcripts, resumption of meiosis, spindle formation, chromosome alignment and segregation, and so should also be considered as a potential checkpoint of oocyte development.

Keywords: biomarkers, cattle, follicular oocyte growth, gene expression.

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