Mouse Embryo Culture Bioassay

  • Marybeth Gerrity


The purpose of the mouse embryo bioassay, in the context of this presentation, is to serve as a quality control measure to assess the culture conditions used in human in vitro fertilization. Investigators using this assay often conclude, optimistically, that those conditions supporting mouse embryo development will also permit human embryo development. However, the converse is probably more accurate; conditions which halt or retard mouse embryo development will probably do the same in the human system. At best, the mouse embryo bioassay is a crude assay that only rates the embryo toxicity of a treatment or compares the relative merits of two conditions that are known to support embryo development (for example, human fetal cord serum versus maternal serum). The assay cannot differentiate between growth promoting treatments. Furthermore, although mouse embryos grow well in culture (Biggers et al., 1971; see also Chapter 18), supporting their use for quality control comparisons, the transfer of animal embryos cultured in vitro to surrogate wombs seldom results in viable offspring. Therefore, it can be argued that the mouse embryo system is artificial at best.


Human Serum Albumin Embryo Development Mouse Embryo Embryo Transfer Uterine Horn 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1988

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  • Marybeth Gerrity

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