Is the anterior-posterior axis of the fetus specified before implantation in the mouse?

J Exp Zool. 1992 Dec 15;264(4):437-43. doi: 10.1002/jez.1402640409.


The mouse conceptus is generally held to be radially symmetrical about its embryonic-abembryonic axis from the blastocyst stage until the primitive streak appears at the beginning of gastrulation. However, this notion has been challenged by recent observations on conceptuses sectioned in utero which suggest that the blastocyst is already bilaterally symmetrical when it begins to implant. Accordingly, the blastocyst has been assigned an anterior-posterior axis which appears to persist through gastrulation and is claimed to coincide with the anterior-posterior axis of the future fetus in both orientation and polarity. In the present investigation the relationship between these two axes was examined in conceptuses dissected from the uterus early in gastrulation so that it could be determined more accurately than is possible in situ. The anterior-posterior axis of the conceptus and nascent fetus were found to be either parallel or antiparallel to each other, suggesting that while the orientation of the fetal axis may be specified at the blastocyst stage its polarity is not.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastocyst / cytology*
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Mice