How the environment affects early embryonic development

  • Publication date : 2021-10-15


Sirard MA. How the environment affects early embryonic development. Reprod Fertil Dev. 2021 Dec;34(2):203-213. doi: 10.1071/RD21266. PMID: 35231267.


How the environment affects early embryonic development

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embryo bovine dna epigenetics gametes methylation spermatozoa


In the field of animal reproduction, the environment associated with gametes and embryos refers to the parents' condition as well as conditions surrounding gametes and embryos in vivo or in vitro . This environment is now known to influence not only the functionality of the early embryo but potentially the future phenotype of the offspring. Using transcriptomic and epigenetic molecular analysis, and the bovine model, recent research has shown that both the female and the male metabolic status, for example age, can affect gene expression and gene programming in the embryo. Evidence demonstrates that milking cows, which are losing weight at the time of conception, generates compromised embryos and offspring with a unique metabolic signature. A similar phenomenon has been associated with different culture conditions and the IVF procedure. The general common consequence of these situations is an embryo behaving on 'economy' mode where translation, cell division and ATP production is reduced, potentially to adapt to the perceived future environment. Few epidemiological studies have been done in bovines to assess if these changes result in a different phenotype and more studies are required to associate specific molecular changes in embryos with visible consequences later in life.