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Morphology of development in the primate: Blastocyst to villous placental stage


Examination of plastic-embedded rhesus monkey and baboon blastocysts through the implantation period has provided information on normal differentiation and development. The blastocysts show many features in common with non-primate laboratory animals, including differentiation of endoderm and its extension beyond the inner cell mass prior to implantation. However, there appears to be more cell death, and more aberrations in development. Implantation involves the adherence of trophoblast to healthy uterine luminal epithelial cells, and intrusion of syncytial trophoblast between these cells, followed by lateral expansion of the site of invasion prior to penetration of the uterine epithelial basal lamina. An amnionic cavity is formed within the inner cell mass, and is preceded by establishment of cell polarity. The definitive yolk sac is formed by an aggregation of endodermal cells adjacent to the inner cell mass. The trophoblast does not give rise to mesodermal cells, but some of these cells may be formed from endoderm prior to primitive streak formation. In both rhesus monkey and baboon, syncytial trophoblast taps the maternal vascular system relatively rapidly. In the baboon in particular large blood-filled spaces elevate the implantation site from the level of the endometrium at the stage of primary and secondary villus formation.

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Enders, A.C., Schlafke, S. Morphology of development in the primate: Blastocyst to villous placental stage. J Biosci 6 (Suppl 2), 53–61 (1984).

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  • Primate
  • blastocyst
  • implantation