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Deconstructing and reconstructing the mouse and human early embryo

Abstract

The emergence of form and function during mammalian embryogenesis is a complex process that involves multiple regulatory levels. The foundations of the body plan are laid throughout the first days of post-implantation development as embryonic stem cells undergo symmetry breaking and initiate lineage specification, in a process that coincides with a global morphological reorganization of the embryo. Here, we review experimental models and how they have shaped our current understanding of the post-implantation mammalian embryo.

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Fig. 1: Timeline of technical breakthroughs in early mouse and human embryo research.
Fig. 2: Overview of mouse and human post-implantation development.
Fig. 3: Cell types in early post-implantation mammalian embryos.
Fig. 4: Stem cell models of the mouse and human embryo.

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Acknowledgements

We apologize to our colleagues whose findings we could not cite due to space constraints. We are grateful to S.E. Harrison, M. Zhu, F. Antonica and M. Petruzzelli for their insightful comments. The M.Z-G lab is supported by grants from the European Research Council (669198) and the Wellcome Trust (098287/Z/12/Z). M. Shahbazi is supported by an Early Career Leverhulme Trust fellowship.

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Shahbazi, M.N., Zernicka-Goetz, M. Deconstructing and reconstructing the mouse and human early embryo. Nat Cell Biol 20, 878–887 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41556-018-0144-x

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