DNA damage in cells can occur physiologically or may be induced by exogenous factors. Genotoxic damage may cause cancer, ageing, serious developmental diseases and anomalies. If the damage occurs in the germline, it can potentially lead to infertility or chromosomal and genetic aberrations in the developing embryo. Mammalian oocytes, the female germ cells, are produced before birth, remaining arrested at the prophase stage of meiosis over a long period of time. During this extensive state of arrest the oocyte may be exposed to different DNA-damaging insults for months, years or even decades. Therefore, it is of great importance to understand how these cells respond to DNA damage. In this review, we summarize the most recent developments in the understanding of the DNA damage response mechanisms that function in fully grown mammalian oocytes.
- DNA damage response
- DNA repair