Continuation of mammalian species requires the formation and development of the sexually dimorphic germ cells. Cultured embryonic stem cells are generally considered pluripotent rather than totipotent because of the failure to detect germline cells under differentiating conditions. Here we show that mouse embryonic stem cells in culture can develop into oogonia that enter meiosis, recruit adjacent cells to form follicle-like structures, and later develop into blastocysts. Oogenesis in culture should contribute to various areas, including nuclear transfer and manipulation of the germ line, and advance studies on fertility treatment and germ and somatic cell interaction and differentiation.
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