Developmental genetics of the female reproductive tract in mammals

Nat Rev Genet. 2003 Dec;4(12):969-80. doi: 10.1038/nrg1225.


The female reproductive tract receives the oocytes for fertilization, supports the development of the fetus and provides the passage for birth. Although abnormalities of this organ system can result in infertility and even death, until recently relatively little was known about the genetic processes that underlie its development. By drawing primarily on mouse mutagenesis studies and the analysis of human mutations we review the emerging genetic pathways that regulate female reproductive-tract formation in mammals and that are implicated in congenital abnormalities of this organ system. We also show that these pathways might be conserved between invertebrates and mammals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Female / embryology*
  • Mice
  • Sex Differentiation