New study investigates how ovarian development in the fetus could be linked to the development of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) later in life

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common reproductive metabolic disorder of unknown cause(s). A person’s genes and history of development as a fetus both seem to affect the development of PCOS in later life, but how this happens is not known.

Researchers at the Robinson Research Institute in Adelaide formed a collaboration with international researchers to investigate whether genes known to be involved in PCOS are active during development of the foetal ovary. The research found that nearly all of the PCOS genes were activated during ovarian development and they clustered into three different patterns of activity, probably indicating different important roles in development.

These results are important because they provide clues as to the processes in fetal ovarian development that could be linked to PCOS later in life. The next step is to discover the factors that alter these genes during foetal development and to use this knowledge to identify strategies to prevent PCOS.

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