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Dev Biol. 1996 Feb 1;173(2):447-58.

Defective chorioallantoic fusion in mid-gestation lethality of parthenogenone<-->tetraploid chimeras.

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Laboratory of Radiobiology and Environmental Health, University of California, San Francisco 94143, USA.


Previous studies of parthenogenetic embryos revealed severe perturbations of both embryonic and extraembryonic tissue lineages during postimplantation development. The majority of pure parthenogenetic concepti have no recognizable axis and exhibit preferential terminal differentiation of their trophectoderm and primitive endoderm. To further define the role of the extraembryonic lineages in parthenogenetic development, we provided them with zygote-derived extraembryonic tissues by aggregating them with fertilized tetraploid embryos. On Day 12 of combined in vitro and in vivo development, most of the embryos proper in these chimeras were entirely derived parthenogenetically, whereas their trophectoderm and primitive endoderm tissues were derived from the tetraploid component. No Igf2 expression was detected in the parthenogenetic embryo proper, indicating that imprinting was manifested in such chimeras. Typical development of the parthenogenetic embryo proper was markedly improved in comparison with pure parthenogenetic concepti, with such chimeras attaining an average of 23 somites (range, 10 to 35). However, most of the chimeras died abruptly at Day 13, and all were being resorbed at Day 14 of development. The gross normality of axial structures and organ development suggests that a major cause of failure of these chimeric parthenogenones to survive beyond mid-gestation was due to defective chorioallantoic fusion. Our results indicate that the severe perturbation of axial development seen in most pure parthenogenetic concepti is a secondary consequence of the effects of parthenogenesis on the trophectoderm and primitive endoderm lineages. Moreover, the mid-gestation death of parthenogenetic embryos proper despite the presence of zygote-derived tetraploid tissues implicates extraembryonic mesoderm in manifesting the effects of genomic imprinting.

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