Lookup NU author(s): Dr Miguel Velazquez
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The preimplantation embryo undergoes morphogenesis to form a blastocyst largely independent of its external environment mediated through an intrinsic developmental program. However, the early embryo across species is sensitive to external cues such as growth factors, cytokines, metabolites, and nutrients which in the short-term tend to influence the rate of morphogenesis or specific cellular processes involved. Recent research has shown that environmental conditions may also change the early embryo in ways that have a legacy beyond the preimplantation period. These environments include in vivo maternal nutrition, physiology, and health during this short window around the time of conception as well as paternal seminal plasma. They also include in vitro conditions as occur in assisted reproductive treatment (ART) to overcome infertility. In such circumstances, preimplantation embryos may respond to environmental factors through a series of epigenetic, molecular, cellular, and physiological mechanisms that alter fetal and postnatal phenotype despite no change in genotype. This plasticity of the early embryo has implications for the health and disease risk of offspring across their lifespan.
Author(s): Fleming TP, Velazquez MA, Watkins AJ, Eckert JJ
Editor(s): Michael Skinner
Publication type: Book Chapter
Publication status: Published
Book Title: Encyclopedia of Reproduction
Print publication date: 27/07/2018
Online publication date: 30/07/2018
Acceptance date: 31/05/2018
Series Title: Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences
Number of Volumes: 6
Publisher: Academic Press, Elsevier
Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item