Potential Egg Stem Cells Reignite Debate

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Science  02 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6072, pp. 1029-1030
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6072.1029

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Reproductive biologist Jonathan Tilly of Massachusetts General Hospital has challenged the conventional wisdom that female mammals are born with all the egg cells, or oocytes, they will ever have, arguing that in mice—and perhaps also in humans—there must be an ongoing source of new eggs. In 2005, he proposed that bone marrow was a source of eggs in mice. (That idea was discredited a year later.) But this week online in Nature Medicine, Tilly and colleagues report isolating rare cells in ovarian tissue from adult women that can grow in lab dishes and form immature oocytes. This latest claim is earning some cautious acceptance.