Nursing the oocyte

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Science  01 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6281, pp. 35-36
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf4943

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The generation of a mature egg, or oocyte, is essential for fertility. The oocyte requires the production of considerable quantities of messenger RNA (mRNA), protein, and organelles during its formation, a store needed for the subsequent development of the fertilized egg. In some species, these components are provided by neighboring cells called nurse cells (1). The role of nurse cells during oocyte development has been well studied in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, but it has been unclear if mammalian species also have nurse cells. On page 95 of this issue, Lei and Spradling (2) provide evidence for nurse cells during mouse oogenesis, adding to our understanding of mammalian oocyte development and raising hope for new infertility treatments.