Literature Discussion 2                               Zoology 533               Sept 16, 2003


Assigned Reading:

·      Hubner et al. (2003)  Derivation of Oocytes from Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells.  Science Vol 300: 1252

·      Dennis (2003) Synthetic Sex Cells.  Nature Vol 424:  364

·      Chapter 7 of the textbook.


Assigned Questions 

To receive full credit, answers must be incomplete sentences. Submit the answers by e-mail prior to class to both instructors;  Also, bring a copy of your answers and any additional questions or comments to the discussion sessions.


1.  Briefly describe the assay that Hubner et al. used to identify oocytes in the ES cell cultures.


2.  The authors further analyzed the molecular and cellular properties of the putative oocytes. 


  1. Oocytes are highly specialized cells.  What property or properties distinguish oocytes from all other cell types?  Did Hubner et al. assay their cells in culture for all of the properties that you have listed?
  2. What evidence reported by Hubner et al. supports the conclusion that the cells are actually oocytes
  3. Which experiment or observation reported by Hubner et al. is most convincing to you? 
  4. Do you agree with the authors¹ conclusion that they were able to derive oocytes from ES cells in culture?  Explain


3. In vitro fertilization has enabled new options for infertile couples, but oocytes are in short supply.  What ethical issues should society consider before gametes grown in culture are used to assist human reproduction?  Explain.