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Preantral follicles are the majority of the ovarian follicle population and their use as a source of homogeneous oocytes for bovine reproductive biotechnologies could result in a substantial advance in this field. However, while in other species embryos and offspring have been produced, in bovine species the results have been limited to the follicular activation of small (primordial) preantral follicles and formation of early antral follicles from large (secondary) preantral follicles after in vitro culture. Therefore, this review will highlight the basic aspects of bovine folliculogenesis by focusing on preantral follicles, the methods of harvesting preantral follicles, the main results from in vitro follicular culture during the last 20 years, and the potential candidate substances (basic supplements, growth factors, and hormones) for improving the efficiency of in vitro follicle growth.



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