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Biol Reprod. 2003 May;68(5):1682-6. Epub 2002 Dec 11.

A revised protocol for in vitro development of mouse oocytes from primordial follicles dramatically improves their developmental competence.

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The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine 04609, USA.


The objective of this study was to improve the conditions for oocyte development in vitro beginning with the primordial follicles of newborn mice. Previous studies showed that oocytes competent of meiotic maturation, fertilization, and preimplantation could develop in vitro from primordial follicles. However, the success rates were low and only one live offspring was produced (0.5% of embryos transferred). A revised protocol was compared with the original protocol using oocyte maturation and preimplantation development as end points. The percentage of oocytes maturing to metaphase II and developing to the blastocyst stage was significantly improved using the revised protocol. In addition, we compared the production of offspring from two-cell stage embryos derived from in vitro-grown and in vivo-grown oocytes. Of 1160 transferred two-cell stage embryos derived from in vitro-grown oocytes, 66 (5.7%) developed to term and 7 pups (10.6%) died at birth. The remaining 59 pups (27 females, 32 males) survived to adulthood. By comparison, of 437 transferred two-cell stage embryos derived from in vivo-grown oocytes, 76 (17.4%) developed to term and 4 (5.3%) died at birth. The remaining 72 pups (35 females, 37 males) survived to adulthood. These studies provide proof of the principle that fully competent mammalian oocytes can develop in vitro from primordial follicles and present a significant advance in oocyte culture technology.

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