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Are Synaptic and Recombination Defects in Meiosis Coupled with an Increase in Germ Cell Death?

Posted by PLOS_Genetics on 20 Feb 2008 at 02:47 GMT

Originally submitted as a Reader Response by Syed Hussain Imam Abidi ( on 5 February 2007 (additional author: Amit Kumar Singh):

The authors of this study show that BPA exposed-females have increased synaptic and recombination defects during meiosis. Since these defects are known to reduce the pool of oocytes in the adult female, they speculate that “BPA may adversely influence the reproductive lifespan of exposed females”. However, the authors provide no information on the number of oocytes surviving after BPA exposure. This is important because it can provide information regarding the fertility status of exposed adult females; that is, if there is a massive degeneration of the oocyte pool. They further argue that “unexposed ERβ-null females exhibit a similar phenotype” and that recombination levels are increased in oocytes from exposed females and in females lacking ERβ. Since ERβ female mice are subfertile is it possible that the same is true for BPA exposed females? The authors only used two-cell embryos derived from the exposed females; therefore, it is not clear whether BPA exposed adult female are fertile. Finally, the sexual dimorphism of germ cells in most metazoans has required fundamentally different strategies of meiosis with important implications for both fertility and the maintenance of genome integrity. The precise timing for the onset of meiosis in males and females differ, such that meiosis in males is initiated only after birth in humans and mice. Is it therefore possible that BPA exposed adult males can also exhibit meiotic defects?