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New oocytes from bone marrow?

US researchers report that in mice, a stem cell reservoir in marrow can replenish ovaries

Charles Choi(cqchoi@nasw.org)

Stem cells found in the bone marrow and blood of adult mice can restock ovaries with new egg cells, US scientists report in this week's Cell.

"This work demonstrates there is an adult stem cell pool in mammalian females whose primary role is to generate new oocytes, and quite strikingly, it doesn't exist in the ovaries," senior author Jonathan Tilly from Massachusetts General Hospital told The Scientist.

The new findings build on a study Tilly and colleagues conducted in 2004, in which they discovered–contrary to biological dogma–that female mice could produce new egg cells, suggesting the existence of female germline stem cells. When the researchers destroyed oocyte-containing follicles in mice with doxorubicin, hundreds of new oocytes were generated in only 24 hours, far more than expected from the relatively small number of cells in the ovaries expressing the primordial germ cell marker SSEA1.

Tilly and colleagues then...

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