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Women Not Born With Lifetime Supply of Eggs?

Animal Study Shows Mammals Have a Reserve of Egg-Producing Follicles

Implications for Female Fertility

In an editorial that accompanies the study, Allan C. Spradling of the Carnegie Medical Institute Laboratory in Baltimore, Md., says the study raises many interesting and important questions.

For example, the location and the number of these 'reserve' or germ stem cells in females will need to be determined.

In addition, "the question on everyone's lips will be whether there are germline stem cells in the human ovary."

Spradling says these cells might have easily been missed in humans for the same reasons they were missed in mice for so long -- they were thought to be rare.

He says the work also raises "the strong possibility" that the rapid decline in female fertility that occurs after age 30 is caused by the depletion of these 'reserved' cells coupled with an age-related decline in healthy egg-producing follicles.

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