It is generally accepted that mammalian preimplantation embryos are sensitive to their environment and that conditions of culture can affect future growth and developmental potential both pre- and postnatally. Evidence suggests that while culture conditions during bovine in vitro embryo production can impact somewhat on the developmental potential of the early embryo, the intrinsic quality of the oocyte is the key factor determining the proportion of oocytes developing to the blastocyst stage. In addition, evidence suggests that the period of post fertilization embryo culture is the most critical period affecting blastocyst quality assessed in terms of cryotolerance, gene expression pattern and ability to establish a pregnancy. This paper reviews the current literature, with emphasis on the bovine model, demonstrating evidence for an effect of post fertilization culture environment on embryo gene expression and quality.
University College Dublin ->