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Reprod Fertil Dev. 2006;18(1-2):99-107.

Mammalian diversity: gametes, embryos and reproduction.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA. rrb@mdanderson.org

Abstract

The class Mammalia is composed of approximately 4800 extant species. These mammalian species are divided into three subclasses that include the monotremes, marsupials and eutherians. Monotremes are remarkable because these mammals are born from eggs laid outside of the mother's body. Marsupial mammals have relatively short gestation periods and give birth to highly altricial young that continue a significant amount of 'fetal' development after birth, supported by a highly sophisticated lactation. Less than 10% of mammalian species are monotremes or marsupials, so the great majority of mammals are grouped into the subclass Eutheria, including mouse and human. Mammals exhibit great variety in morphology, physiology and reproduction. In the present article, we highlight some of this remarkable diversity relative to the mouse, one of the most widely used mammalian model organisms, and human. This diversity creates challenges and opportunities for gamete and embryo collection, culture and transfer technologies.

PMID:
16478607
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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