The oviduct: from sperm selection to the epigenetic landscape of the embryo†

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Abstract

The mammalian oviduct is the place where life begins as it is the site of fertilization and preimplantation embryo development. Recent research has highlighted the important role played by the oviduct both in sperm selection for natural fertilization and in the genetic and epigenetic reprogramming of preimplantation embryo development. This review examines oviduct fluid composition with a special emphasis on exosomes and the role played by the oviduct in sperm selection, early embryo development, and in reshaping the epigenetic landscape of the embryo. In addition, the implications of data obtained for improving assisted reproductive technologies are discussed.

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