It’s a complex business, making ovaries – the organs that hold female egg cells. It’s important to get the right balance of egg cells to supporting cells, and this is controlled by a number of genes all working together. These images show two very different ovaries, both taken from tiny fruit flies and viewed down a microscope. The one on the left is healthy, with the developing eggs stained blue and the supporting cells coloured green. But the one on the right comes from a fly that has an overactive version of a gene called c-Fos. Rather than neat rows of maturing egg cells, it’s a mess of green supporting cells surrounding degraded and useless eggs. Unsurprisingly, these flies are infertile. Figuring out how c-Fos works together with other genes to create egg cells is an important step in understanding infertility, not just in flies but maybe also in humans too.
Written by Kat Arney
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (the new name for the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre) the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.