Alan Trounson, Roger Gosden, Ursula Eichenlaub-Ritter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword / PostscriptOtherpeer-review


When approached by Nick Dunton of Cambridge University Press to edit the second edition of The Biology and Pathology of the Oocyte, my response was an emphatic yes, providing my co-editor Roger Gosden could be enticed from retirement. He agreed and we both wanted Ursula Eichenlaub-Ritter to be the third editor because we admired her expertise in the basic biology of the oocyte and her ability to get the job done. There has been incredible progress in the knowledge of the oocyte and applications for medicine that have regularly appeared since the first edition. We considered the areas of reproductive technology – IVF – and the areas of reprogramming somatic cell phenotype as spin-offs of the progress made in oocyte biology. Both these areas received Nobel Prizes in the last few years and are included in the contributions for the second edition. We were fortunate to have John Gurdon open the second edition the year (2013) after he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He and his coauthor set the scene for a rather different perspective of the power and influence of the oocyte in modern biology. The contributors invited for the second edition are exceptional in their areas of oocyte biology, pathology, and applications to biotechnology and medicine. We think they have captured the excitement of the fast-moving frontier of the oocyte field. The second edition will enthuse the reader interested in how the oocyte is formed, its function, and the underlying mechanisms of what is the most extraordinary cell in the body. It remains the germinal link from generation to generation and must undergo the most elaborate series of changes to be ready to accept the genomic contribution of the most differentiated of all cells – the sperm. The oocyte must then enter the developmental program that enables an organism to arise with extremes in patterning and lineage differentiation consistent with the species of origin. In this exquisitely crafted program of development, it is possible to intervene to manipulate the oocyte for purposes of solving human infertility, to clone animals, develop pluripotent embryonic stem cells, and reprogram cell commitment in fully differentiated cells in animals including the human – so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). As a consequence we are able to address human infertility and avoid some of the worst inheritable genetic diseases, enable advances in selective animal breeding, and potentially address many human pathologies by using stem cell therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiology and Pathology of the Oocyte: Role in Fertility, Medicine, and Nuclear Reprogramming, Second Edition
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781139135030
ISBN (Print)9781107021907
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

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