Oocyte differentiation is genetically dissociable from meiosis in mice.

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Nat Genet. 2013 Aug;45(8):877-83.




Oogenesis is the process by which ovarian germ cells undertake meiosis and differentiate to become eggs. In mice, Stra8 is required for the chromosomal events of meiosis to occur, but its role in differentiation remains unknown. Here we report Stra8-deficient ovarian germ cells that grow and differentiate into oocyte-like cells that synthesize zonae pellucidae, organize surrounding somatic cells into follicles, are ovulated in response to hormonal stimulation, undergo asymmetric cell division to produce a polar body and cleave to form two-cell embryos upon fertilization. These events occur without premeiotic chromosomal replication, sister chromatid cohesion, synapsis or recombination. Thus, oocyte growth and differentiation are genetically dissociable from the chromosomal events of meiosis. These findings open to study the independent contributions of meiosis and oocyte differentiation to the making of a functional egg. Nat Genet. 2013 Aug;45(8):877-83.