Research Article

Dissecting primate early post-implantation development using long-term in vitro embryo culture

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Science  31 Oct 2019:
eaaw5754
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw5754

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Abstract

The transition from peri-implantation to gastrulation in mammals entails the specification and organization of the lineage progenitors into a body plan. Technical and ethical challenges have limited understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying this transition. Here, we established a culture system that enabled the development of cynomolgus monkey embryos in vitro for up to 20 days. Cultured embryos underwent key primate developmental stages, including lineage segregation, bi-laminar disc formation, amniotic and yolk sac cavitation, and primordial germ cell-like cell (PGCLC) differentiation. Single-cell RNA sequencing analysis revealed development trajectories of primitive endoderm, trophectoderm, epiblast lineages, and PGCLCs. Analyzing single-cell chromatin accessibility identified transcription factors specifying each cell type. Our results reveal critical developmental events and complex molecular mechanisms underlying non-human primate embryogenesis in the early post-implantation period with possible relevance to human development.

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