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Volume 596 Issue 7872, 19 August 2021

Ovarian ageing

Reproductive lifespan varies considerably in women and its timing impacts fertility and healthy ageing. Natural fertility declines 5-10 years prior to the menopause, which occurs between the ages of 40 and 60 in most women. In this week’s issue, an international team of scientists sheds light on the genetics behind this process. The researchers analysed genetic data from 201,323 women and identified 290 genetic determinants associated with menopause timing. When they manipulated two of these genes — Chek1 and Chek2 — in mice, the team found that they directly affected fertility and reproductive lifespan. The researchers hope that the results might offer therapeutic routes to extend fertility and prevent disease.

Cover image: KL Murphy

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