Diane Duane (outofambit) points to article in the Boston Globe about a study which indicates that one of the things we thought we knew about the function of mammalian reproduction may be fundamentally wrong:
In a finding that could someday revolutionize fertility treatments, researchers yesterday reported evidence that appears to topple a decades-old tenet of reproductive biology: that girls are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have, a pool that dwindles and degenerates with age.
Clearly, they needed even better evidence. They gathered more. In particular, they took a mouse that had been genetically engineered so that every cell in its body glowed green under fluorescent light, cut its ovary in half, and grafted onto it pieces of a normal mouse’s ovary.
In three or four weeks, they found green-glowing eggs that had been surrounded by a layer of nongreen supporting cells to make what is called a follicle. That mixture, Tilly said, indicated that green egg stem cells had migrated into the nongreen pieces of ovary and started to produce new eggs that then attracted the supporting cells they needed to form follicles.
If the study can be reproduced and substantiated, this could be a truly revolutionary development in biology. Very nifty!