How Early-Stage Embryos Maintain Their Size

September 2, 2019

8-cell embryo, three days after fertilization [WikiCommons]

What controls the size of an embryo and, by extension, the size of tissue, organs and the whole organism?

For as much as we know about embryogenesis, questions about how an embryo maintains its size early in development are still unanswered. Those questions are at the center of recent research by the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany.

The research, a collaboration between the groups of L Mahadevan, the Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and of Physics at Harvard; and Takashi Hiiragi from the EMBL found that embryos maintain an average size in early development through simple hydraulic pressure...

Continue reading "How early-stage embryos maintain their size" by Leah Burrows, August 30, 2019.

Read the original Letter: C.J. Chan, M. Costanzo, T. Ruiz-Herrero, G. Mönke, R.J. Petrie, M. Bergert, A. Diz-Muñoz, L. Mahadevan & T. Hiiragi, "Hydraulic control of mammalian embryo size and cell fate," Nature 571 (2019)