Genome editing reveals role of gene important for human embryo development

20 Sep 2017

Researchers have used genome editing technology to reveal the role of a key gene in human embryos in the first few days of development. This is the first time that genome editing has been used to study gene function in human embryos, which could help scientists to better understand the biology of our early development.

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Anatomy of a decision: mapping early development

06 Jul 2016

In the first genome-scale experiment of its kind, researchers have gained new insights into how a mouse embryo first begins to transform from a ball of unfocussed cells into a small, structured entity. Published in Nature, the single-cell genomics study was led by the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the University of Cambridge.

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Scientists develop human embryos beyond implantation stage for first time

04 May 2016

A new technique that allows embryos to develop in vitro beyond the implantation stage (when the embryo would normally implant into the womb) has been developed by scientists at the University of Cambridge allowing them to analyse for the first time key stages of human embryo development up to 13 days after fertilisation. The technique could open up new avenues of research aimed at helping improve the chances of success of IVF.

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Embryo development: Some cells are more equal than others even at four-cell stage

24 Mar 2016

Genetic ‘signatures’ of early-stage embryos confirm that our development begins to take shape as early as the second day after conception, when we are a mere four cells in size, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge and EMBL-EBI. Although they seem to be identical, the cells of the two day-old embryo are already beginning to display subtle differences.

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Haeckel’s embryos: the images that would not go away

06 Jul 2015

A new book tells, for the first time in full, the extraordinary story of drawings of embryos initially published in 1868. The artist was accused of fraud – but, copied and recopied, his images gained iconic status as evidence of evolution.

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Upside down and inside out

27 Apr 2015

Researchers have captured the first 3D video of a living algal embryo turning itself inside out, from a sphere to a mushroom shape and back again. The results could help unravel the mechanical processes at work during a similar process in animals, which has been called the “most important time in your life.”

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