This article is from the public number:Academic latitude (ID: Global_Academia), original title: “Today : How do primate embryos develop? Scientists have a new discovery, the title map comes from: Visual China.

Early development of the embryo, able to answerThe mystery of the beginning of our birth. However, due to various technical and ethical limitations, we do not know much about this process at present. Today, a paper published online by the top academic journal Science has brought us new insights.

This research is from the Institute of Translational Medicine of Linglong University of Science and Technology of Kunming University of Science and Technology, Professor Tan Wei of Yunnan Zhongke Primate Biomedical Laboratory, Professor Niu Yuyu, Professor Ji Weizhi, and Juan Carlos Izpisúa of Salk Institute Professor Belmonte’s cooperation.

In the paper, the scientists pointed out that from the period of (gastrulation), mammalian embryos undergo a series of transformations at the cellular and molecular levels. However, we don’t know much about these transformations, which is largely limited by the lack of a suitable research system.

In recent years, the birth of some in vitro culture systems has allowed us to gradually develop the ability to develop early embryos. However, these systems often fail to support long-term culture of embryos. After more than 12 days of training, they will gradually “fall out”.

▲ This system can breed embryos up to 20 days in vitro (Source: Reference [1])

In order to better study early embryo development, these scientists have improved this in vitro culture system. After optimizing the culture conditions, they succeeded in breaking the in vitro culture record of cynomolgus monkeys, which increased to 20 days. Moreover, these cultured embryos can undergo a series of normal developmental stages including “cell lineage differentiation.”

Afterwards, the researchers performed single-cell RNA sequencing analysis of developing early embryos. The analysis showed that these embryos have been able to show a clear regional division. We also clearly see the original endoderm (primitive endoderm), nourishing ectoderm (trophectoderm), and the cell lineage of the epiblast (epiblast). Moreover, we can also find transcription factors specific to each cell type. The researchers point out that this reveals some of the key molecular information needed for early embryo development.

▲The picture shows a 17-day primate embryo with different colors indicating markers in different cell differentiation

(Source: Weizhi Ji/Kunming University of Science and Technology)

Early embryo development is a ‘black box’, we provide the first pairThis observation,” Professor Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, one of the co-authors of the study, said: “Now we can observe how cells develop in different embryonic stages and what factors they need. This allows us to better understand how to produce different cells and tissues.

“In order to understand the gastrointestinal stage of primates, we started the culture experiment of monkey embryos in China three years ago. This team has long-term experience in the systematic research of non-human primates. And there is a mature reproductive research system such as in vitro fertilization platform,” Professor Ji Weizhi commented: “We have successfully achieved our goal. This can bring new insights into the post-implantation development process of the past.

Looking into the future, the establishment of this system will not only bring an important tool for early embryo research, but also find the key to early embryo development through these previously unseen studies. This is expected to give us a better understanding of the process of primate development and explore the mysteries behind the disease.


[1] Yuyu Niu et al., (2019), Dissecting primate early post-implantation development using long-term in vitro embryo culture, Science, DOI: 10.1126/science. Aaw5754

[2] Unlocking the black box of embryonic development, Retrieved October 31, 2019, from -box-of-embryonic-development/

This article is from the public number:Academic latitude (ID: Global_Academia).