Blastomeres: Undifferentiated cells resulting from cleavage of a fertilized egg (ZYGOTE). Inside the intact ZONA PELLUCIDA, each cleavage yields two blastomeres of about half size of the parent cell. Up to the 8-cell stage, all of the blastomeres are totipotent. The 16-cell MORULA contains outer cells and inner cells.Cleavage Stage, Ovum: The earliest developmental stage of a fertilized ovum (ZYGOTE) during which there are several mitotic divisions within the ZONA PELLUCIDA. Each cleavage or segmentation yields two BLASTOMERES of about half size of the parent cell. This cleavage stage generally covers the period up to 16-cell MORULA.Urochordata: A subphylum of chordates intermediate between the invertebrates and the true vertebrates. It includes the Ascidians.Blastocyst: A post-MORULA preimplantation mammalian embryo that develops from a 32-cell stage into a fluid-filled hollow ball of over a hundred cells. A blastocyst has two distinctive tissues. The outer layer of trophoblasts gives rise to extra-embryonic tissues. The inner cell mass gives rise to the embryonic disc and eventual embryo proper.Preimplantation Diagnosis: Determination of the nature of a pathological condition or disease in the OVUM; ZYGOTE; or BLASTOCYST prior to implantation. CYTOGENETIC ANALYSIS is performed to determine the presence or absence of genetic disease.Embryonic Development: Morphological and physiological development of EMBRYOS.Embryo, Nonmammalian: The developmental entity of a fertilized egg (ZYGOTE) in animal species other than MAMMALS. For chickens, use CHICK EMBRYO.Morula: An early embryo that is a compact mass of about 16 BLASTOMERES. It resembles a cluster of mulberries with two types of cells, outer cells and inner cells. Morula is the stage before BLASTULA in non-mammalian animals or a BLASTOCYST in mammals.Embryo Transfer: The transfer of mammalian embryos from an in vivo or in vitro environment to a suitable host to improve pregnancy or gestational outcome in human or animal. In human fertility treatment programs, preimplantation embryos ranging from the 4-cell stage to the blastocyst stage are transferred to the uterine cavity between 3-5 days after FERTILIZATION IN VITRO.Zygote: The fertilized OVUM resulting from the fusion of a male and a female gamete.Embryo, Mammalian: The entity of a developing mammal (MAMMALS), generally from the cleavage of a ZYGOTE to the end of embryonic differentiation of basic structures. For the human embryo, this represents the first two months of intrauterine development preceding the stages of the FETUS.Embryonic Induction: The complex processes of initiating CELL DIFFERENTIATION in the embryo. The precise regulation by cell interactions leads to diversity of cell types and specific pattern of organization (EMBRYOGENESIS).Fertilization in Vitro: An assisted reproductive technique that includes the direct handling and manipulation of oocytes and sperm to achieve fertilization in vitro.Gastrula: The developmental stage that follows BLASTULA or BLASTOCYST. It is characterized by the morphogenetic cell movements including invagination, ingression, and involution. Gastrulation begins with the formation of the PRIMITIVE STREAK, and ends with the formation of three GERM LAYERS, the body plan of the mature organism.Embryonic and Fetal Development: Morphological and physiological development of EMBRYOS or FETUSES.Embryo Culture Techniques: The technique of maintaining or growing mammalian EMBRYOS in vitro. This method offers an opportunity to observe EMBRYONIC DEVELOPMENT; METABOLISM; and susceptibility to TERATOGENS.Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental: Any of the processes by which nuclear, cytoplasmic, or intercellular factors influence the differential control of gene action during the developmental stages of an organism.Embryo Implantation: Endometrial implantation of EMBRYO, MAMMALIAN at the BLASTOCYST stage.Zona Pellucida: A tough transparent membrane surrounding the OVUM. It is penetrated by the sperm during FERTILIZATION.Pregnancy: The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (EMBRYOS or FETUSES) in utero before birth, beginning from FERTILIZATION to BIRTH.Oocytes: Female germ cells derived from OOGONIA and termed OOCYTES when they enter MEIOSIS. The primary oocytes begin meiosis but are arrested at the diplotene state until OVULATION at PUBERTY to give rise to haploid secondary oocytes or ova (OVUM).Cryopreservation: Preservation of cells, tissues, organs, or embryos by freezing. In histological preparations, cryopreservation or cryofixation is used to maintain the existing form, structure, and chemical composition of all the constituent elements of the specimens.Sea Urchins: Somewhat flattened, globular echinoderms, having thin, brittle shells of calcareous plates. They are useful models for studying FERTILIZATION and EMBRYO DEVELOPMENT.Blastula: An early non-mammalian embryo that follows the MORULA stage. A blastula resembles a hollow ball with the layer of cells surrounding a fluid-filled cavity (blastocele). The layer of cells is called BLASTODERM.Ectogenesis: Embryonic and fetal development that takes place in an artificial environment in vitro.Caenorhabditis elegans: A species of nematode that is widely used in biological, biochemical, and genetic studies.Body Patterning: The processes occurring in early development that direct morphogenesis. They specify the body plan ensuring that cells will proceed to differentiate, grow, and diversify in size and shape at the correct relative positions. Included are axial patterning, segmentation, compartment specification, limb position, organ boundary patterning, blood vessel patterning, etc.Mosaicism: The occurrence in an individual of two or more cell populations of different chromosomal constitutions, derived from a single ZYGOTE, as opposed to CHIMERISM in which the different cell populations are derived from more than one zygote.Xenopus laevis: The commonest and widest ranging species of the clawed "frog" (Xenopus) in Africa. This species is used extensively in research. There is now a significant population in California derived from escaped laboratory animals.Nuclear Transfer Techniques: Methods of implanting a CELL NUCLEUS from a donor cell into an enucleated acceptor cell.Xenopus Proteins: Proteins obtained from various species of Xenopus. Included here are proteins from the African clawed frog (XENOPUS LAEVIS). Many of these proteins have been the subject of scientific investigations in the area of MORPHOGENESIS and development.Parthenogenesis: A unisexual reproduction without the fusion of a male and a female gamete (FERTILIZATION). In parthenogenesis, an individual is formed from an unfertilized OVUM that did not complete MEIOSIS. Parthenogenesis occurs in nature and can be artificially induced.Aneuploidy: The chromosomal constitution of cells which deviate from the normal by the addition or subtraction of CHROMOSOMES, chromosome pairs, or chromosome fragments. In a normally diploid cell (DIPLOIDY) the loss of a chromosome pair is termed nullisomy (symbol: 2N-2), the loss of a single chromosome is MONOSOMY (symbol: 2N-1), the addition of a chromosome pair is tetrasomy (symbol: 2N+2), the addition of a single chromosome is TRISOMY (symbol: 2N+1).Cell Lineage: The developmental history of specific differentiated cell types as traced back to the original STEM CELLS in the embryo.Xenopus: An aquatic genus of the family, Pipidae, occurring in Africa and distinguished by having black horny claws on three inner hind toes.Blastocyst Inner Cell Mass: The cluster of cells inside a blastocyst. These cells give rise to the embryonic disc and eventual embryo proper. They are pluripotent EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS capable of yielding many but not all cell types in a developing organism.Embryology: The study of the development of an organism during the embryonic and fetal stages of life.Cypriniformes: An order of fish with 26 families and over 3,000 species. This order includes the families CYPRINIDAE (minnows and CARPS), Cobitidae (loaches), and Catostomidae (suckers).Mesoderm: The middle germ layer of an embryo derived from three paired mesenchymal aggregates along the neural tube.Ectoderm: The outer of the three germ layers of an embryo.Micromanipulation: The performance of dissections, injections, surgery, etc., by the use of micromanipulators (attachments to a microscope) that manipulate tiny instruments.Ovum: A mature haploid female germ cell extruded from the OVARY at OVULATION.Totipotent Stem Cells: Single cells that have the potential to form an entire organism. They have the capacity to specialize into extraembryonic membranes and tissues, the embryo, and all postembryonic tissues and organs. (Stem Cells: A Primer [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Institutes of Health (US); 2000 May [cited 2002 Apr 5]. Available from: http://www.nih.gov/news/stemcell/primer.htm)Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins: Proteins from the nematode species CAENORHABDITIS ELEGANS. The proteins from this species are the subject of scientific interest in the area of multicellular organism MORPHOGENESIS.Chimera: An individual that contains cell populations derived from different zygotes.Endoderm: The inner of the three germ layers of an embryo.Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic: An assisted fertilization technique consisting of the microinjection of a single viable sperm into an extracted ovum. It is used principally to overcome low sperm count, low sperm motility, inability of sperm to penetrate the egg, or other conditions related to male infertility (INFERTILITY, MALE).In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence: A type of IN SITU HYBRIDIZATION in which target sequences are stained with fluorescent dye so their location and size can be determined using fluorescence microscopy. This staining is sufficiently distinct that the hybridization signal can be seen both in metaphase spreads and in interphase nuclei.Cloning, Organism: The formation of one or more genetically identical organisms derived by vegetative reproduction from a single cell. The source nuclear material can be embryo-derived, fetus-derived, or taken from an adult somatic cell.Microinjections: The injection of very small amounts of fluid, often with the aid of a microscope and microsyringes.Starfish: Echinoderms having bodies of usually five radially disposed arms coalescing at the center.Cell Differentiation: Progressive restriction of the developmental potential and increasing specialization of function that leads to the formation of specialized cells, tissues, and organs.Morphogenesis: The development of anatomical structures to create the form of a single- or multi-cell organism. Morphogenesis provides form changes of a part, parts, or the whole organism.Cytochalasins: 11- to 14-membered macrocyclic lactones with a fused isoindolone. Members with INDOLES attached at the C10 position are called chaetoglobosins. They are produced by various fungi. Some members interact with ACTIN and inhibit CYTOKINESIS.Twinning, Monozygotic: The division of a ZYGOTE into two parts, each of which is capable of further development.Cell Nucleus: Within a eukaryotic cell, a membrane-limited body which contains chromosomes and one or more nucleoli (CELL NUCLEOLUS). The nuclear membrane consists of a double unit-type membrane which is perforated by a number of pores; the outermost membrane is continuous with the ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM. A cell may contain more than one nucleus. (From Singleton & Sainsbury, Dictionary of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, 2d ed)Prenatal Injuries: Damages to the EMBRYO, MAMMALIAN or the FETUS before BIRTH. Damages can be caused by any factors including biological, chemical, or physical.Notochord: A cartilaginous rod of mesodermal cells at the dorsal midline of all CHORDATE embryos. In lower vertebrates, notochord is the backbone of support. In the higher vertebrates, notochord is a transient structure, and segments of the vertebral column will develop around it. Notochord is also a source of midline signals that pattern surrounding tissues including the NEURAL TUBE development.Ciona intestinalis: The only species of a cosmopolitan ascidian.Helminth Proteins: Proteins found in any species of helminth.Cell Division: The fission of a CELL. It includes CYTOKINESIS, when the CYTOPLASM of a cell is divided, and CELL NUCLEUS DIVISION.