Age-associated alterations in the micromechanical properties of chromosomes in the mammalian egg

Jessica Elizabeth Hornick, Francesca Elizabeth Duncan, Mingxuan Sun, Ryo Kawamura, John F Marko, Teresa K Woodruff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: The incidence of aneuploidy in eggs from women of advanced reproductive age can exceed 60 %, making the mammalian egg a unique model system to study the mechanisms of chromosome segregation errors. Methods: Here we applied a novel biophysical chromosome stretching approach to quantify mechanical stiffness of meiotic chromosomes in the mammalian egg and then documented how these properties changed in a mouse model of physiologic reproductive aging. Results: We found significant differences in chromosome micromechanics, and thus in higher order chromosome structure, coincident with advanced reproductive age, a time that is also unequivocally associated with an increase in egg aneuploidy. Conclusions: These findings have important implications for both reproductive and cancer biology where aneuploidy plays a central role in aging related disease states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-769
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Chromosome
  • Mammalian
  • Meiosis
  • Micromechanics
  • Reproductive aging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)

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