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26 - 03 - 2018

Assisted reproductive medicine

The study of mice embryos helps expand the knowledge of embryogenesis and ultimately the effectiveness of assisted reproductive medicine.



In assisted reproductive medicine, the embryos to be implanted are selected by visual examination.


The European program MecaMorphEME aims to build mathematical or physical models to obtain a better choice of embryos to implant.


For this purpose, researchers have attempted to construct a realistic preimplantation physical model of the mouse embryo.


At the eight-cell stage, the embryo is compact. By moving to the sixteen-cell stage, it separates into an inner mass and an outer layer. The cells of the outer layer will form the placenta, those of the inner mass will form the embryo itself.




The researchers studied the surface tension (flexibility) of the cells at the eight-cell stage of the embryo. They discovered that the transition to sixteen cells was by asymmetric cell division, one of the daughter cells had decreased surface tension.


At the separation of the cell pairs, this difference of flexibility between the surfaces of the two cells triggers a sorting and placement in the internal mass or in the outer layer of the embryo.


This mouse embryo study has thus made it possible to define a physical model for the formation of the sixteen-cell embryo, a critical step in the development of the mammalian embryo. This model could increase the efficiency of embryo choices for implantation.