Growing embryonic tissues on a chip

It's no surprise that using human embryos for biological and medical research comes with many ethical concerns. Correct though it is to proceed with caution in these matters, the fact is that much science would benefit from ...

Tracking life's first step: Two molecules 'awaken' brand new genome

Within hours after fertilization, a unique genome forms from chromosomes contributed by the egg and sperm. However, this new genome is initially inactive and must be "awakened" to begin the transcription of its DNA and start ...

Environmental oxygen triggers loss of webbed digits

Free fingers have many obvious advantages on land, such as in locomotion and grasping, while webbed fingers are typical of aquatic or gliding animals. But both amphibians and amniotes—which include mammals, reptiles, and ...

Baby pterodactyls could fly from birth

A breakthrough discovery reveals that pterodactyls, extinct flying reptiles, had a remarkable ability—they could fly from birth. The importance of this discovery is highlighted by the fact that no other living vertebrates ...

Life in Antarctica's ice mirrors human disease

The cooling of the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica, which began approximately 35 million years ago and gave rise to its present icy state, has for decades been considered a classic example of climate change triggering ...

Spatial DNA organization forms first, then the rest

The fundamental organization of the DNA in active and inactive compartments arises immediately after fertilization of the oocyte, even before genes are activated. This was discovered by researchers from the Hubrecht Institute ...

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Embryo

An embryo (irregularly from Greek: ἔμβρυον, plural ἔμβρυα, lit. "that which grows," from en- "in" + bryein "to swell, be full"; the proper Latinate form would be embryum) is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination. In humans, it is called an embryo until about eight weeks after fertilization (i.e. ten weeks LMP), and from then it is instead called a fetus.

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