How Early-Stage Embryos Maintain Their Size

September 2, 2019
8-cell embryo, three days after fertilization (WikiCommons)

Prof. L. Mahadevan collaborated with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) to discover what controls the size of an embryo. The study published in Nature found that embryos maintain an average size in early development through simple hydraulic pressure. During early stages of embryonic development, a fluid-filled cavity grows and expands. Using mouse embryos, researchers observed that the cavity repeated the process continuously which allowed the embryo to maintain a steady, average size throughout initial stages of development. SEAS features a video of the process.

Image: 8-cell embryo, three days after fertilization (WikiCommons)
See also: Faculty News, 2019