The long-held belief that women are born with their lifetime supply of egg cells is now in doubt, and the change could revolutionize fertility treatments.

The findings of a new study raise the possibility that women, like men, replenish their reproductive cells throughout life. The research, published in the March 11 issue of Nature, was done in mice, a mammal often used as a model for human biology. If the results can be replicated in humans, the findings will upend a doctrine held by fertility researchers for half a century.

The knowledge could lead to a flood of new ways to approach infertility associated with cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, as well as diminishing fertility in older women.

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