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Polar Bodies: Minute cells produced during development of an OOCYTE as it undergoes MEIOSIS. A polar body contains one of the nuclei derived from the first or second meiotic CELL DIVISION. Polar bodies have practically no CYTOPLASM. They are eventually discarded by the oocyte. (from King & Stansfield, A Dictionary of Genetics, 4th ed)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).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.Meiosis: A type of CELL NUCLEUS division, occurring during maturation of the GERM CELLS. Two successive cell nucleus divisions following a single chromosome duplication (S PHASE) result in daughter cells with half the number of CHROMOSOMES as the parent cells.Metaphase: The phase of cell nucleus division following PROMETAPHASE, in which the CHROMOSOMES line up across the equatorial plane of the SPINDLE APPARATUS prior to separation.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.Fertilization: The fusion of a spermatozoon (SPERMATOZOA) with an OVUM thus resulting in the formation of a ZYGOTE.Starfish: Echinoderms having bodies of usually five radially disposed arms coalescing at the center.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.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).Zygote: The fertilized OVUM resulting from the fusion of a male and a female gamete.Oogenesis: The process of germ cell development in the female from the primordial germ cells through OOGONIA to the mature haploid ova (OVUM).Fertilization in Vitro: An assisted reproductive technique that includes the direct handling and manipulation of oocytes and sperm to achieve fertilization in vitro.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).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.Spindle Apparatus: A microtubule structure that forms during CELL DIVISION. It consists of two SPINDLE POLES, and sets of MICROTUBULES that may include the astral microtubules, the polar microtubules, and the kinetochore microtubules.Asymmetric Cell Division: Unequal cell division that results in daughter cells of different sizes.Ovum: A mature haploid female germ cell extruded from the OVARY at OVULATION.Chromosomes: In a prokaryotic cell or in the nucleus of a eukaryotic cell, a structure consisting of or containing DNA which carries the genetic information essential to the cell. (From Singleton & Sainsbury, Dictionary of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, 2d ed)In Vitro Oocyte Maturation Techniques: Methods used to induce premature oocytes, that are maintained in tissue culture, to progress through developmental stages including to a stage that is competent to undergo FERTILIZATION.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.Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mos: Cellular proteins encoded by the c-mos genes (GENES, MOS). They function in the cell cycle to maintain MATURATION PROMOTING FACTOR in the active state and have protein-serine/threonine kinase activity. Oncogenic transformation can take place when c-mos proteins are expressed at the wrong time.Cytokinesis: The process by which the CYTOPLASM of a cell is divided.Embryonic Development: Morphological and physiological development of EMBRYOS.Cumulus Cells: The granulosa cells of the cumulus oophorus which surround the OVUM in the GRAAFIAN FOLLICLE. At OVULATION they are extruded with OVUM.Microinjections: The injection of very small amounts of fluid, often with the aid of a microscope and microsyringes.Genes, mos: Retrovirus-associated DNA sequences (mos) originally isolated from the Moloney murine sarcoma virus (Mo-MSV). The proto-oncogene mos (c-mos) codes for a protein which is a member of the serine kinase family. There is no evidence as yet that human c-mos can become transformed or has a role in human cancer. However, in mice, activation can occur when the retrovirus-like intracisternal A-particle inserts itself near the c-mos sequence. The human c-mos gene is located at 8q22 on the long arm of chromosome 8.Sperm-Ovum Interactions: Interactive processes between the oocyte (OVUM) and the sperm (SPERMATOZOA) including sperm adhesion, ACROSOME REACTION, sperm penetration of the ZONA PELLUCIDA, and events leading to FERTILIZATION.Cell Nucleus Division: The process by which the CELL NUCLEUS is divided.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.Cytogenetic Analysis: Examination of CHROMOSOMES to diagnose, classify, screen for, or manage genetic diseases and abnormalities. Following preparation of the sample, KARYOTYPING is performed and/or the specific chromosomes are analyzed.Insemination: The deposit of SEMEN or SPERMATOZOA into the VAGINA to facilitate FERTILIZATION.Chromatids: Either of the two longitudinally adjacent threads formed when a eukaryotic chromosome replicates prior to mitosis. The chromatids are held together at the centromere. Sister chromatids are derived from the same chromosome. (Singleton & Sainsbury, Dictionary of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, 2d ed)Bivalvia: A class in the phylum MOLLUSCA comprised of mussels; clams; OYSTERS; COCKLES; and SCALLOPS. They are characterized by a bilaterally symmetrical hinged shell and a muscular foot used for burrowing and anchoring.Pregnancy: The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (EMBRYOS or FETUSES) in utero before birth, beginning from FERTILIZATION to BIRTH.Chromosomes, Human: Very long DNA molecules and associated proteins, HISTONES, and non-histone chromosomal proteins (CHROMOSOMAL PROTEINS, NON-HISTONE). Normally 46 chromosomes, including two sex chromosomes are found in the nucleus of human cells. They carry the hereditary information of the individual.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.Nuclear Transfer Techniques: Methods of implanting a CELL NUCLEUS from a donor cell into an enucleated acceptor cell.Cell Polarity: Orientation of intracellular structures especially with respect to the apical and basolateral domains of the plasma membrane. Polarized cells must direct proteins from the Golgi apparatus to the appropriate domain since tight junctions prevent proteins from diffusing between the two domains.Microtubules: Slender, cylindrical filaments found in the cytoskeleton of plant and animal cells. They are composed of the protein TUBULIN and are influenced by TUBULIN MODULATORS.Maturation-Promoting Factor: Protein kinase that drives both the mitotic and meiotic cycles in all eukaryotic organisms. In meiosis it induces immature oocytes to undergo meiotic maturation. In mitosis it has a role in the G2/M phase transition. Once activated by CYCLINS; MPF directly phosphorylates some of the proteins involved in nuclear envelope breakdown, chromosome condensation, spindle assembly, and the degradation of cyclins. The catalytic subunit of MPF is PROTEIN P34CDC2.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)Spermatozoa: Mature male germ cells derived from SPERMATIDS. As spermatids move toward the lumen of the SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES, they undergo extensive structural changes including the loss of cytoplasm, condensation of CHROMATIN into the SPERM HEAD, formation of the ACROSOME cap, the SPERM MIDPIECE and the SPERM TAIL that provides motility.Embryonic and Fetal Development: Morphological and physiological development of EMBRYOS or FETUSES.Maternal Age: The age of the mother in PREGNANCY.Chromosomes, Mammalian: Complex nucleoprotein structures which contain the genomic DNA and are part of the CELL NUCLEUS of MAMMALS.Zona Pellucida: A tough transparent membrane surrounding the OVUM. It is penetrated by the sperm during FERTILIZATION.Haploidy: The chromosomal constitution of cells, in which each type of CHROMOSOME is represented once. Symbol: N.Microscopy, Polarization: Microscopy using polarized light in which phenomena due to the preferential orientation of optical properties with respect to the vibration plane of the polarized light are made visible and correlated parameters are made measurable.Chromosome Segregation: The orderly segregation of CHROMOSOMES during MEIOSIS or MITOSIS.Nocodazole: Nocodazole is an antineoplastic agent which exerts its effect by depolymerizing microtubules.Cytoplasm: The part of a cell that contains the CYTOSOL and small structures excluding the CELL NUCLEUS; MITOCHONDRIA; and large VACUOLES. (Glick, Glossary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1990)Cytochalasin B: A cytotoxic member of the CYTOCHALASINS.Centrosome: The cell center, consisting of a pair of CENTRIOLES surrounded by a cloud of amorphous material called the pericentriolar region. During interphase, the centrosome nucleates microtubule outgrowth. The centrosome duplicates and, during mitosis, separates to form the two poles of the mitotic spindle (MITOTIC SPINDLE APPARATUS).Urochordata: A subphylum of chordates intermediate between the invertebrates and the true vertebrates. It includes the Ascidians.Cyclin B1: A cyclin B subtype that colocalizes with MICROTUBULES during INTERPHASE and is transported into the CELL NUCLEUS at the end of the G2 PHASE.Protamine Kinase: An aspect of protein kinase (EC 2.7.1.37) in which serine residues in protamines and histones are phosphorylated in the presence of ATP.Micromanipulation: The performance of dissections, injections, surgery, etc., by the use of micromanipulators (attachments to a microscope) that manipulate tiny instruments.Cyclin B: A cyclin subtype that is transported into the CELL NUCLEUS at the end of the G2 PHASE. It stimulates the G2/M phase transition by activating CDC2 PROTEIN KINASE.Pregnancy Rate: The ratio of the number of conceptions (CONCEPTION) including LIVE BIRTH; STILLBIRTH; and fetal losses, to the mean number of females of reproductive age in a population during a set time period.Mice, Inbred Strains: Genetically identical individuals developed from brother and sister matings which have been carried out for twenty or more generations, or by parent x offspring matings carried out with certain restrictions. All animals within an inbred strain trace back to a common ancestor in the twentieth generation.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.Diploidy: The chromosomal constitution of cells, in which each type of CHROMOSOME is represented twice. Symbol: 2N or 2X.Comparative Genomic Hybridization: A method for comparing two sets of chromosomal DNA by analyzing differences in the copy number and location of specific sequences. It is used to look for large sequence changes such as deletions, duplications, amplifications, or translocations.Ploidies: The degree of replication of the chromosome set in the karyotype.Demecolcine: An alkaloid isolated from Colchicum autumnale L. and used as an antineoplastic.Glycols: A generic grouping for dihydric alcohols with the hydroxy groups (-OH) located on different carbon atoms. They are viscous liquids with high boiling points for their molecular weights.Superovulation: Occurrence or induction of release of more ova than are normally released at the same time in a given species. The term applies to both animals and humans.Tubulin: A microtubule subunit protein found in large quantities in mammalian brain. It has also been isolated from SPERM FLAGELLUM; CILIA; and other sources. Structurally, the protein is a dimer with a molecular weight of approximately 120,000 and a sedimentation coefficient of 5.8S. It binds to COLCHICINE; VINCRISTINE; and VINBLASTINE.Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction: Methods for using more than one primer set in a polymerase chain reaction to amplify more than one segment of the target DNA sequence in a single reaction.Ovarian Follicle: An OOCYTE-containing structure in the cortex of the OVARY. The oocyte is enclosed by a layer of GRANULOSA CELLS providing a nourishing microenvironment (FOLLICULAR FLUID). The number and size of follicles vary depending on the age and reproductive state of the female. The growing follicles are divided into five stages: primary, secondary, tertiary, Graafian, and atretic. Follicular growth and steroidogenesis depend on the presence of GONADOTROPINS.Polymerization: Chemical reaction in which monomeric components are combined to form POLYMERS (e.g., POLYMETHYLMETHACRYLATE).Tubulin Modulators: Agents that interact with TUBULIN to inhibit or promote polymerization of MICROTUBULES.Actins: Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or F-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or G-actin. In conjunction with MYOSINS, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle.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.Securin: Securin is involved in the control of the metaphase-anaphase transition during MITOSIS. It promotes the onset of anaphase by blocking SEPARASE function and preventing proteolysis of cohesin and separation of sister CHROMATIDS. Overexpression of securin is associated with NEOPLASTIC CELL TRANSFORMATION and tumor formation.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.