Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)
Conference Paper

Epigenetic remodeling in preimplantation embryos: cows are not big mice

Pablo J. Ross, Rafael V. Sampaio

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Epigenetic mechanisms allow the establishment and maintenance of multiple cellular phenotypes from a single genomic code. At the initiation of development, the oocyte and spermatozoa provide their fully differentiated chromatin that soon after fertilization undergo extensive remodeling, resulting in a totipotent state that can then drive cellular differentiation towards all cell types. These remodeling involves different epigenetic modifications, including DNA methylation, post-translational modifications of histones, non-coding RNAs, and large-scale chromatin conformation changes. Moreover, epigenetic remodeling is responsible for reprogramming somatic cells to totipotency upon somatic cell nuclear transfer/cloning, which is often incomplete and inefficient. Given that environmental factors, such as assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs), can affect epigenetic remodeling, there is interest in understanding the mechanisms driving these changes. We describe and discuss our current understanding of mechanisms responsible for the epigenetic remodeling that ensues during preimplantation development of mammals, presenting findings from studies of mouse embryos and when available comparing them to what is known for human and cattle embryos.


bovine, epigenetics, embryo, preimplantation development, histone modifications, DNA methylation.


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