First Equine Embryo Time-Lapse Images Revealed

Do you think horses are quick to get moving right after birth? Check out what they’re doing right after fertilization.
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First Equine Embryo Time-Lapse Images Revealed
Equine ICSI being performed. The oocyte is held in the middle and teh sperm cell is visible in the needle on the right. | Photo: Courtesy Niamh Lewis
Do you think horses are quick to get moving right after birth? Check out what they’re doing right after fertilization.

Thanks to new time-lapse videos of equine embryo development, scientists are discovering the milestones associated with future implantation and pregnancy success. They’re also discovering just how active these microscopic equines are.

“We were all surprised by the amount of movement of the embryos and even of the cytoplasm (cell material) within the cells of the embryos,” said Niamh Lewis, BVM&S, PhD, Dipl. ACT, ECAR, equine reproduction specialist based in Dublin, Ireland. “They are by no means static during development. Cellular content and the attached cumulus cells (which surround the fertilized egg) are moving all the time.”

The movement she and her team saw was so significant that the embryos sometimes came in and out of focus or even shifted from one droplet of culture medium (the material in laboratory dishes that help the embryos grow) to another, Lewis said

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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