Ontario Pork

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Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan

Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:

Author(s): Paul W. Dyce, Lihua Wen and Julang Li
Publication Date: March 26, 2006
Country: Canada


Two of the unanswered questions in mammalian developmental biology are when and where the fate of the germ cell is specified. Here, we report that stem cells isolated from the skin of porcine fetuses have the intrinsic ability to differentiate into oocyte-like cells. When differentiation was induced, a subpopulation of these cells expressed markers such as Oct4, Growth differentiation factor 9b (GDF9b), the Deleted in Azoospermia-like (DAZL) gene and Vasa — all consistent with germ-cell formation. On further differentiation, these cells formed follicle-like aggregates that secreted oestradiol and progesterone and responded to gonadotropin stimulation. Some of these aggregates extruded large oocyte-like cells that expressed oocyte markers, such as zona pellucida, and the meiosis marker, synaptonemal complex protein 3 (SCP3).
Some of these oocyte-like cells spontaneously developed into parthenogenetic embryo-like structures. The ability to
generate oocyte-like cells from skin-derived cells may offer new possibilities for tissue therapy and provide a new in vitro model to study germ-cell formation and oogenesis.

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