Human pre-implantation embryo development

Development. 2012 Mar;139(5):829-41. doi: 10.1242/dev.060426.


Understanding human pre-implantation development has important implications for assisted reproductive technology (ART) and for human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-based therapies. Owing to limited resources, the cellular and molecular mechanisms governing this early stage of human development are poorly understood. Nonetheless, recent advances in non-invasive imaging techniques and molecular and genomic technologies have helped to increase our understanding of this fascinating stage of human development. Here, we summarize what is currently known about human pre-implantation embryo development and highlight how further studies of human pre-implantation embryos can be used to improve ART and to fully harness the potential of hESCs for therapeutic goals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aneuploidy
  • Animals
  • Blastocyst / cytology
  • Blastocyst / physiology
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy / methods*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / anatomy & histology
  • Embryo, Mammalian / physiology
  • Embryonic Development*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / physiology
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted*


  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins