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Reprod Biomed Online. 2004 May;8(5):577-83.

Candidate lineage marker genes in human preimplantation embryos.

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  • 1Program for In Vitro Fertilization, Reproductive Surgery and Infertility, New York University School of Medicine, 660 First Avenue, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10016, USA.


Cell allocation and subsequent lineage commitment in the human embryo may be established as early as in the unfertilized oocyte. This phenomenon might be the result of subtle differences of gene expression and protein distribution. To assess whether gene expression profiling by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction could be a suitable tool for the detection of cell allocation and lineage commitment, the expression pattern of the putative inner cell mass marker gene Oct-4 and the trophectodermal marker genes beta-HCG and beta-LH were correlated in individual blastomeres of preimplantation human embryos. In 2- to 5-cell stage embryos, expression of beta-HCG and Oct-4 mRNA was negatively correlated in all blastomeres with statistical significance, suggesting that cell allocation can be assessed by those markers at early stages. In 7- to 10-cell stage embryos, expression of beta-LH and Oct-4 mRNA was negatively correlated in some blastomeres without statistical significance, suggesting that more experiments are necessary to decide if lineage commitment can be assessed in some cells by those markers at later stages.

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