I investigate how females’ genetic backgrounds influence their fertility.
There is a substantial gap in our knowledge of how allelic variants and their combinations influence the mechanisms regulating oocyte development in both humans and mice. The Ovarian Reserve (OR), a major determinant of female fertility and reproductive lifespan, is thought to be influenced by genetic factors. Both the size of the OR and onset of menopause vary among genetically heterogenous women; in such populations, each individual carries a unique set of allelic variants. Difficulties in investigating human ovarian tissue and using a single inbred mouse strain, typically C57BL/6J (B6), for analysis of knockout phenotypes has limited our understanding of how allelic variants regulate the establishment of the OR. To understand the genetic regulation of the OR establishment, we designed a study using genetically diverse mice to better recapitulate genetic variation in the human population. We utilized classical laboratory and wild-derived strains (known as the founder strains) and Collaborative Cross (CC), which are multiparent recombinant inbred lines generated from the founder strains. Together, these strains cover ~90% of variation found in the mouse genome and provide us the power to understand the genetic influence during oocyte development. My study will contribute knowledge to what alleles and mechanisms regulate female egg numbers and quality.