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Vertebrates, including mammals, are considered to have evolved by whole genome duplications. Although some fish have been reported to be polyploids that have undergone additional genome duplication, there have been no reports of polyploid mammals due to abnormal development after implantation. Furthermore, as the number of physiologically existing tetraploid somatic cells is small, details of the functions of these ploidy-altered cells are not fully understood. In this present study, we aimed to clarify the details of the differentiation potency of tetraploids using tetraploid embryonic stem cells. To clarify the differentiation potency, we used mouse tetraploid embryonic stem cells derived from tetraploid embryos. We presented tetraploid embryonic stem cells differentiated into neural and osteocyte lineage in vitro and tetraploid cells that contributed to various tissues of chimeric embryos ubiquitously in vivo. These results revealed that mouse embryonic stem cells maintain differentiation potency after altering the ploidy. Our results provide an important basis for the differentiation dynamics of germ layers in mammalian polyploid embryogenesis.
Polyploids generated by natural whole genome duplication have served as a dynamic force in vertebrate evolution. As evidence for evolution, polyploid organisms exist generally, however there have been no reports of polyploid organisms in mammals. In mice, polyploid embryos under normal culture conditions normally develop to the blastocyst stage. Nevertheless, most tetraploid embryos degenerate after implantation, indicating that whole genome duplication produces harmful effects on normal development in mice. Most previous research on polyploidy has mainly focused on tetraploid embryos. Analysis of various ploidy outcomes is important to comprehend the effects of polyploidization on embryo development. The purpose of this present study was to discover the extent of the polyploidization effect on implantation and development in post-implantation embryos. This paper describes for the first time an octaploid embryo implanted in mice despite hyper-polyploidization, and indicates that these mammalian embryos have the ability to implant, and even develop, despite the harmfulness of extreme whole genome duplication.
Mammals self-regulate their body size throughout development. In the uterus, embryos are properly regulated to be a specific size at birth. Previously, size and cell number in aggregated embryos, which were made from two or more morulae, and half embryos, which were halved at the 2-cell stage, have been analysed in vivo in preimplantation and post-implantation development in mice. Here, we examined whether or not the mouse embryo has the capacity to self-regulate growth using an in vitro culture system. To elucidate embryonic histology, cells were counted in aggregated or half embryos in comparison with control embryos. Both double- and triple-aggregated embryos contained more cells than did control embryos during all culture periods, and the relative growth ratios showed no growth inhibition in an in vitro culture system. Meanwhile, half embryos contained fewer cells than control embryos, but the number grew throughout the culture period. Our data suggest that the growth of aggregated embryos is not affected and continues in an in vitro culture system. On the other hand, the growth of half embryos accelerates and continues in an in vitro culture system. This situation, in turn, implied that post-implantation mouse embryos might have some potential to regulate their own growth and size as seen by using an in vitro culture system without uterus factors. In conclusion, our results indicated that embryos have some ways in which to regulate their own size in mouse early development.
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