Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #187084


item Bakst, Murray

Submitted to: Reproductive Biology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/29/2005
Publication Date: 1/17/2007
Citation: Jacob, M., Bakst, M.R. 2007. Anatomy of the female reproductive tract. Chapter 4. In: Reproductive Biology and Phylogeny of Aves (Birds). Vol. 6A:553-587. B.G.M. Jamieson, Editor.

Interpretive Summary: The gonads and reproductive tracts in mammals arise and develop as paired organs. This is not true in female birds. In most birds, with the exception of birds of prey, only the left oviduct and ovary develop and are functional at maturity. In this chapter, we focus on the early embryonic development and differentiation of the left oviduct and further present the gross anatomy, histology and ultrastructure of the oviduct in mature hens. In addition, the molecular signaling and the endocrinology which regulates the differentiation of these ducts are discussed in some detail. This chapter is geared to anyone interested in bird reproduction but will be particularly useful to avian embryologists and anatomists.

Technical Abstract: In vertebrates, the reproductive system arises as bilateral anlagen, and consequently, paired genital organs are commonly found in the adult. In birds, the female reproductive system is unique. Although paired anlagen appear, only the left genital primordia develop to functional organs except in birds of prey. In this chapter, we focus on the development and differentiation of the left oviduct from the Müllerian (paramesonephric) duct and the concurrent regression of the right Müllerian duct. We further present the macroanatomy, histology and ultrastructure of the oviduct in mature hens. Data are mainly based on studies of the domestic fowl since these birds have been systematically studied. Only fundamental peculiarities of wild birds (as far as known) are mentioned in this chapter. A link is made to the Wolffian duct and the mesonephros, which form the reproductive tract in the male, but does not further develop in females. Only remnants of these anlagen might be found in hens and have no significant in the production of fertile eggs.