Apoptosis in oogenesis and preimplantation embryo development of mammals
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In this paper, the authors made an attempt to summarize the present knowledge on apoptosis in mammalian oocytes and embryos. On the contrary to necrosis, apoptosis is a programmed death of damaged or mutated cells. Several studies showed that it takes place during oogenesis (oocyte growth and maturation), as well as at some stages of preimplantation embryo development (morula, blastocyst). Although apoptosis is observed in vivo, the frequency of this phenomenon increases in vitro. There is a number of methods detecting apoptotic cells, however, none of them gives a clear evaluation of the studied process. A complex analysis with the use of several methods is therefore advised. Because in ovary the majority of oocytes undergo atresia (over 99%), the scientists concentrate on developing new methods aiming at improvement of females' reproductive performance. The process of apoptosis seems to be a crucial limiting factor.
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Ewelina Warzych, Katedra Genetyki i Podstaw Hodowli Zwierzat, Akademia Rolnicza im. Augusta Cieszkowskiego w Poznaniu, ul. Wolynska 33, 60-637 Poznan, Poland