Duke, Kenneth L. Department of Anatomy, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.
Smith, Donald E. Department of Zoology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Last reviewed:January 2021
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- Reptiles and amphibians
- Steroid synthesis
- Ovarian hormones
- Ovarian steroid action
- Hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian relationships
- Sexual cycles
- Fertility regulation
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An organ of the reproductive system of all female vertebrates. The ovary (Fig. 1), which is typically present as one of a pair of functional ovaries, is the primary organ of the female reproductive system of vertebrates. Although not vital to individual survival, the ovary is vital to perpetuation of the species. The function of the ovary is to produce the female germ cells or ova. In addition, in some species, the ovary functions to produce hormones that assist in regulating the reproductive cycle. Moreover, disorders or conditions that primarily affect the ovaries often have serious health consequences. In particular, ovarian neoplasms (tumors) are of greater diversity in histologic appearance and biologic behavior than for any other organ. See also: Hormone; Ovarian disorders; Ovum; Reproductive system; Vertebrata
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