Research highlight

Predicting the success of fertilisation in mouse eggs

Nature Communications

August 10, 2011

Changes in the cytoplasm of fertilised mouse eggs can predict whether the fertilized egg will develop successfully reports a paper published in Nature Communications this week. This finding could potentially have important implications for improving in vitro fertilisation in humans.

Changes in the movement of the intracellular contents of fertilized eggs can be measured in the laboratory. Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz and colleagues found that in fertilized mouse eggs these changes were linked to calcium oscillations and the cytoskeleton. Based on the frequency and amplitude of the cellular changes in fertilised mouse eggs, they could predict which eggs were likely to go on and successfully develop to the blastocyst stage. They noted that eggs with faster cellular movements and those with a longer interval between movements developed most successfully.

The authors suggest that it may be possible to measure these changes in human eggs and predict the success of fertilisation.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms1424

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