Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Building Principles for Constructing a Mammalian Blastocyst Embryo

Version 1 : Received: 13 June 2018 / Approved: 13 June 2018 / Online: 13 June 2018 (10:34:59 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 25 July 2018 / Approved: 25 July 2018 / Online: 25 July 2018 (05:43:59 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Pfeffer, P.L. Building Principles for Constructing a Mammalian Blastocyst Embryo. Biology 2018, 7, 41. Pfeffer, P.L. Building Principles for Constructing a Mammalian Blastocyst Embryo. Biology 2018, 7, 41.


The self-organisation of a fertilised egg into an embryo of three distinct cell lineages (trophoblast, epiblast and hypoblast) arranged around an off-centre cavity typifies the blastocyst, an embryonic structure that is unique to mammals. While the starting point (the zygote) and endpoint (the blastocyst) are similar in all mammals, the intervening events have diverged. This review examines and compares the descriptive and functional data surrounding embryonic gene activation, symmetry-breaking, first and second lineage establishment and fate commitment in a wide range of mammalian orders. The exquisite detail known from mouse embryogenesis, embryonic stem cell studies and the wealth of recent single cell transcriptomic experiments are used to highlight the building principles underlying early mammalian embryonic development.


lineage determination; patterning; blastomere polarization; compaction; cleavage stages; morula; gene regulatory networks


Biology and Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science and Zoology

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