Advertisement

Mammal Embryos May Pause

Mammalian embryos may be able to undergo a developmental pause before implanting in the womb.

By | March 19, 2012

image: Mammal Embryos May Pause Wikimedia Commons, CanWest news

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, CANWEST NEWS

Mammals may possess the ability to pause embryonic development before implantation, according to a new study in PLoS ONE. Many animal embryos are able to undergo diapause, a period of arrested development, before implanting in the uterus, but though only 2% of mammals were known to have this ability, reported Nature. Now, researchers in Italy and Poland have found that sheep embryos also have this capacity, which suggests that the trick, which can help delay development during stressful conditions, may be more widespread than previously realized.

The researchers introduced sheep blastocysts into the uteruses of mice whose ovaries had been removed. Mouse embryos will undergo a pause in development under these conditions, as the surge in estrogen required for implantation does not occur, making the mice’s uteruses are unreceptive to implantation. Sure enough, the sheep embryos similarly paused development, halting their growth and expressing a set of genes characteristic of diapause in mice. And there seemed to be no ill effects: the scientists successfully removed the embryos, restarted their development by placing them back in vitro, and got healthy lambs after implanting them into sheep surrogate mothers.

Grazyna Ptak, an embryologist at the University of Teramo in Italy, who led the work, hypothesizes that, if embryonic diapause is conserved among mammals, it might underlie the variation in implantation times in humans. She speculates that hormone variation caused by stress might cause some embryos to implant immediately, while others take up to 12 days. "Once the female is not stressed any more, the embryo will implant," Ptak told Nature.

Other researchers think this could also explain the difficulty in estimating due dates by calculating from last menstrual cycle, and suggest that hormone variation might be a more accurate predictor of embryo implantation.

Advertisement

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Comments

Avatar of: EBCO

EBCO

Posts: 1

March 19, 2012

I wonder, if most mammals also have the capacity to resorb an already implanted embryo? Just like dogs do in order to overcome an stressful condition that may affect their offspring.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 19, 2012

I wonder, if most mammals also have the capacity to resorb an already implanted embryo? Just like dogs do in order to overcome an stressful condition that may affect their offspring.

Advertisement
Arbor Assays
Arbor Assays

Popular Now

  1. The Mycobiome
    Features The Mycobiome

    The largely overlooked resident fungal community plays a critical role in human health and disease.

  2. Antibody Alternatives
    Features Antibody Alternatives

    Nucleic acid aptamers and protein scaffolds could change the way researchers study biological processes and treat disease.

  3. Holding Their Ground
    Features Holding Their Ground

    To protect the global food supply, scientists want to understand—and enhance—plants’ natural resistance to pathogens.

  4. Circadian Clock and Aging
    Daily News Circadian Clock and Aging

    Whether a critical circadian clock gene is deleted before or after birth impacts the observed aging-related effects in mice.

Advertisement
Bio-Rad
Bio-Rad
Advertisement
Life Technologies