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Science. 2007 May 4;316(5825):719-23. Epub 2007 Apr 19.

Blastocyst axis is specified independently of early cell lineage but aligns with the ZP shape.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Tumor Biology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Yoshida-Konoe-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


The mechanisms controlling the establishment of the embryonic-abembryonic (E-Ab) axis of the mammalian blastocyst are controversial. We used in vitro time-lapse imaging and in vivo lineage labeling to provide evidence that the E-Ab axis of the mouse blastocyst is generated independently of early cell lineage. Rather, both the boundary between two-cell blastomeres and the E-Ab axis of the blastocyst align relative to the ellipsoidal shape of the zona pellucida (ZP), an extraembryonic structure. Lack of correlation between cell lineage and the E-Ab axis can be explained by the rotation of the embryo within the ZP.

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