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Current Topics in Developmental Biology

Melvin L DePamphilis
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
S Garcia-Herrero, A Cervero, E Mateu, P Mir, M E Póo, L Rodrigo, M Vera, C Rubio
Preimplantation development comprises the initial stages of mammalian development, before the embryo implants into the mother's uterus. In normal conditions, after fertilization the embryo grows until reaching blastocyst stage. The blastocyst grows as the cells divide and the cavity expands, until it arrives at the uterus, where it "hatches" from the zona pellucida to implant into the uterine wall. Nevertheless, embryo quality and viability can be affected by chromosomal abnormalities, most of which occur during gametogenesis and early embryo development; human embryos produced in vitro are especially vulnerable...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
R A Reijo Pera, L Prezzoto
Reproduction across mammalian species is conserved with a general pattern of fertilization followed by nascent embryo development in transcriptional silence for a variable length of time, a series of cleavage divisions that occur without growth in size of the embryo, compaction to form a morula, and production of a blastocyst. Following blastocyst formation, the embryo may implant immediately or after substantial differentiation of the epiblast and hypoblast layers. In this chapter, the shared and unique properties of several species, commonly used in studies of reproduction and embryology, are outlined...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
V Garg, S Morgani, A-K Hadjantonakis
During mouse preimplantation development, three molecularly, morphologically, and spatially distinct lineages are formed, the embryonic epiblast, the extraembryonic primitive endoderm, and the trophectoderm. Stem cell lines representing each of these lineages have now been derived and can be indefinitely maintained and expanded in culture, providing an unlimited source of material to study the interplay of tissue-specific transcription factors and signaling pathways involved in these fundamental cell fate decisions...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
C Y Lim, B B Knowles, D Solter, D M Messerschmidt
Although the genes sequentially transcribed in the mammalian embryo prior to implantation have been identified, understanding of the molecular processes ensuring this transcription is still in development. The genomes of the sperm and egg are hypermethylated, hence transcriptionally silent. Their union, in the prepared environment of the egg, initiates their epigenetic genomic reprogramming into a totipotent zygote, in which the genome gradually becomes transcriptionally activated. During gametogenesis, sex-specific processes result in sperm and eggs with disparate epigenomes, both of which require drastic reprogramming to establish the totipotent genome of the zygote and the pluripotent inner cell mass of the blastocyst...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
K J Kaneko
Unicellular organisms are exquisitely sensitive to nutrient availability in the environment and have evolved elaborate mechanisms to sense the levels and types of nutrients, altering gene expression patterns accordingly to adjust the metabolic activities required to survive. Thus, environmental cues induce adaptive metabolic differentiation through transcriptional and posttranscriptional changes. Similarly, preimplantation embryos are exposed to various environmental cues within the maternal reproductive tract prior to implantation...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
M D White, S Bissiere, Y D Alvarez, N Plachta
Compaction is a critical first morphological event in the preimplantation development of the mammalian embryo. Characterized by the transformation of the embryo from a loose cluster of spherical cells into a tightly packed mass, compaction is a key step in the establishment of the first tissue-like structures of the embryo. Although early investigation of the mechanisms driving compaction implicated changes in cell-cell adhesion, recent work has identified essential roles for cortical tension and a compaction-specific class of filopodia...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
C Y Leung, M Zhu, M Zernicka-Goetz
Establishing polarity is a fundamental part of embryogenesis and can be traced back to the earliest developmental stages. It can be achieved in one of two ways: through the preexisting polarization of germ cells before fertilization or via symmetry breaking after fertilization. In mammals, it seems to be the latter, and we will discuss the various cytological and molecular events that lead up to this event, its mechanisms and the consequences. In mammals, the first polarization event occurs in the preimplantation period, when the embryo is but a cluster of cells, free-floating in the oviduct...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
A A Lokken, A Ralston
The adult body is estimated to contain several hundred distinct cell types, each with a specialized physiological function. Failure to maintain cell fate can lead to devastating diseases and cancer, but understanding how cell fates are assigned and maintained during animal development provides new opportunities for human health intervention. The mouse is a premier model for evaluating the genetic regulation of cell fate during development because of the wide variety of tools for measuring and manipulating gene expression levels, the ability to access embryos at desired developmental stages, and the similarities between mouse and human development, particularly during the early stages of development...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
L Bury, P A Coelho, D M Glover
The execution of female meiosis and the establishment of the zygote is arguably the most critical stage of mammalian development. The egg can be arrested in the prophase of meiosis I for decades, and when it is activated, the spindle is assembled de novo. This spindle must function with the highest of fidelity and yet its assembly is unusually achieved in the absence of conventional centrosomes and with minimal influence of chromatin. Moreover, its dramatic asymmetric positioning is achieved through remarkable properties of the actin cytoskeleton to ensure elimination of the polar bodies...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
M S H Ko
Zygotic genome activation (ZGA, a.k.a. zygotic gene activation) is a critical event in development, when the paternally derived genome and maternally derived genome begin to be activated and transcribed after fertilization. Major ZGA occurs at the two-cell stage in mice and the four- to eight-cell stage in human preimplantation embryos. It has been thought that ZGA exists to provide RNAs and proteins supporting embryonic development after supplies stored in oocytes are used up; however, this paradigm does not seem to explain recent findings...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
M L DePamphilis
Nothing is more fundamental to mammalian development than the ability to accurately reproduce its genome once-but only once-each time a cell divides. In fact, the basic mechanism for replicating DNA has been conserved throughout evolution, even though the magnitude of the problem became monumental. A human cell contains 670 times the DNA in an E. coli cell, and human development requires trillions of cell divisions that produce about 37 billion miles of DNA! But instead of increasing the speed of replication forks to compensate for increasing genome size and organism complexity, evolution simply increased the number of replication origins...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
N Palmer, P Kaldis
The preimplantation development stage of mammalian embryogenesis consists of a series of highly conserved, regulated, and predictable cell divisions. This process is essential to allow the rapid expansion and differentiation of a single-cell zygote into a multicellular blastocyst containing cells of multiple developmental lineages. This period of development, also known as the germinal stage, encompasses several important developmental transitions, which are accompanied by dramatic changes in cell cycle profiles and dynamics...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
Virginie Orgogozo
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
P Balaresque, T E King
As humans migrated across the world, they encountered new environments requiring them to adapt to new challenges that presented themselves. The distribution of human phenotypes observed today is the result of this continuous adaptation, via biological/physiological and cultural means, and also by the modification of cultural practices, which leads to biological changes. In this chapter, we examine a number of adaptive traits and the roles played by their genetic and environmental determinants. We have selected a few traits used for human identification purposes (externally visible characteristics), associated with human metabolism and linked to a shift in subsistence method and food consumption...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
M-A Félix
DNA does not make phenotypes on its own. In this volume entitled "Genes and Phenotypic Evolution," the present review draws the attention on the process of phenotype construction-including development of multicellular organisms-and the multiple interactions and feedbacks between DNA, organism, and environment at various levels and timescales in the evolutionary process. First, during the construction of an individual's phenotype, DNA is recruited as a template for building blocks within the cellular context and may in addition be involved in dynamical feedback loops that depend on the environmental and organismal context...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
S Urdy, N Goudemand, S Pantalacci
The core of Evo-Devo lies in the intuition that the way tissues grow during embryonic development, the way they sustain their structure and function throughout lifetime, and the way they evolve are closely linked. Epithelial tissues are ubiquitous in metazoans, covering the gut and internal branched organs, as well as the skin and its derivatives (ie, teeth). Here, we discuss in vitro, in vivo, and in silico studies on epithelial tissues to illustrate the conserved, dynamical, and complex aspects of their development...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
A Monteiro, M D Gupta
One of the central goals of the field of evo-devo is to understand how novel complex traits originate. Novel complex traits are often old, and this makes understanding the genetic basis of their origin difficult. The traditional genetics approach for identifying the causative mutations for trait origin, of crossing species with and without the trait, is often impossible when the species are too distantly related. Alternatively, if the species are closely related, the genetic basis of their differences is often the recent loss, rather than the gain, of the trait in one of them, and mutations resulting in trait loss are not always equivalent to those that led to trait gain...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
C C Rittschof, G E Robinson
The discovery of toolkit genes, which are highly conserved genes that consistently regulate the development of similar morphological phenotypes across diverse species, is one of the most well-known observations in the field of evolutionary developmental biology. Surprisingly, this phenomenon is also relevant for a wide array of behavioral phenotypes, despite the fact that these phenotypes are highly complex and regulated by many genes operating in diverse tissues. In this chapter, we review the use of the toolkit concept in the context of behavior, noting the challenges of comparing behaviors and genes across diverse species, but emphasizing the successes in identifying genetic toolkits for behavior; these successes are largely attributable to the creative research approaches fueled by advances in behavioral genomics...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
F Roux, J Bergelson
In the context of global change, predicting the responses of plant communities in an ever-changing biotic environment calls for a multipronged approach at the interface of evolutionary genetics and community ecology. However, our understanding of the genetic basis of natural variation involved in mediating biotic interactions, and associated adaptive dynamics of focal plants in their natural communities, is still in its infancy. Here, we review the genetic and molecular bases of natural variation in the response to biotic interactions (viruses, bacteria, fungi, oomycetes, herbivores, and plants) in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana as well as the adaptive value of these bases...
2016: Current Topics in Developmental Biology
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