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Federica Innocenti, Giulia Fiorentino, Danilo Cimadomo, Daria Soscia, Silvia Garagna, Laura Rienzi, Filippo Maria Ubaldi, Maurizio Zuccotti 

Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, Received: 22 November 2021 / Accepted: 9 February 2022 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10815-022-02434-y


Oocyte developmental competence is defined as the capacity of the female gamete to be fertilized and sustain development to the blastocyst stage. Epigenetic reprogramming, a correct cell division pattern, and an efficient DNA damage response are all critical events that, before embryonic genome activation, are governed by maternally inherited factors such as maternal- effect gene (MEG) products. Although these molecules are stored inside the oocyte until ovulation and exert their main role during fertilization and preimplantation development, some of them are already functioning during folliculogenesis and oocyte meiosis resumption. This mini review summarizes the crucial roles played by MEGs during oocyte maturation, fertilization, and preimplantation development with a direct/indirect effect on the acquisition or maintenance of oocyte competence. Our aim is to inspire future research on a topic with potential clinical perspectives for the prediction and treat- ment of female infertility.


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