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Published on Dec 6, 2011
Aging human bodies and aging human oocytes run on different clocks along different pathways.
People may scan the mirror anxiously for the first gray hair or wrinkle, but the cruelest sign of aging for half the human race is visible only on the calendar. When women pass the age of 35, their chances of infertility, miscarriage, and birth defects rise precipitously, driven by the aging and resulting quality decline of their eggs (oocytes). Reproductive cessation in women, which now occurs before the midpoint of modern life spans, stands in sharp contrast to aging in the rest of the body's cells, called somatic cells. The question is, why?