Instructions for Assembling the Early Mammalian Embryo

Melanie D. White, Jennifer Zenker, Stephanie Bissiere, Nicolas Plachta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The preimplantation mouse embryo is a simple self-contained system, making it an excellent model to discover how mammalian cells function in real time and in vivo. Work over the last decade has revealed some key morphogenetic mechanisms that drive early development, yielding rudimentary instructions for the generation of a mammalian embryo. Here, we review the instructions revealed thus far, and then discuss remaining challenges to discover upstream factors controlling cell fate determination, test the role of mechanisms based on biological noise, and take advantage of recent technological developments to advance the spatial and temporal resolution of our current understanding. In this Perspective, White et al. review the main morphogenetic mechanisms currently known to control the preimplantation development of the mouse embryo, from an oocyte to a hatched blastocyst. They discuss future challenges remaining and how recent technological developments may advance the spatial and temporal resolution of our current understanding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29920273
Pages (from-to)667-679
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • differentiation
  • live imaging
  • morphogenesis
  • mouse embryo
  • polarity
  • preimplantation

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