The evolution of the egg is dynamic, and eggs have numerous species-specific properties across vertebrates and invertebrates. Interestingly, although the structure and function of the egg have remained relatively conserved over time, some constituents of the egg's extracellular barriers are undergoing rapid evolution. In this article, we review current ideas regarding sperm-egg interactions, discuss genetic approaches used to elucidate egg gene functions, and highlight the interesting differences that have evolved across taxa. We suggest that the rapid evolution of egg components and the mechanisms behind sperm-egg interactions are integrally connected, and delve in depth into each component of the egg's extracellular matrices. Finally, we discuss the promising future of reproductive research and how high-throughput genomics and proteomics have the potential to revolutionize the field and provide new evidence that will challenge previously held views about the fertilization process.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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