Preimplantation Embryo Development and Primordial Germ Cell Lineage Specification

Cyril Ramathal, Renee A. Reijo Pera, Shawn L. Chavez

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    1 Scopus citations


    Embryo development in mammals begins at fertilization with migration and fusion of the gametic pronuclei and extensive genome-wide epigenetic remodeling. The hallmark of preimplantation development is the transition from gametic to embryonic differentiation programs. Information that functionally specifies germ cells must be degraded while those required by the nascent embryo are expressed for the first time. Unique gene expression and epigenetic patterning also provides the foundation for differentiation of somatic and germ cell lineages. This chapter reviews fundamentals of epigenetic reprogramming, genetic (chromosomal) instability, timing, and mechanisms of embryonic gene activation, compaction, and cavitation. We discuss lineage specification beginning with trophectoderm, then focus on allocation of the germ line, and move toward development of germ cells from pluripotent stem cells. Finally, we conclude by discussing how current knowledge of embryogenesis and pluripotent stem cell biology may be applied to assisted reproduction and regenerative medicine now and in the future.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationKnobil and Neill's Physiology of Reproduction
    Subtitle of host publicationTwo-Volume Set
    PublisherElsevier Inc.
    Number of pages33
    ISBN (Electronic)9780123977694
    ISBN (Print)9780123971753
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


    • Embryo
    • Embryogenesis
    • Gametogenesis
    • Germ cell
    • IVF
    • Preimplantation
    • Stem cell
    • Transplantation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine(all)


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