Embryo technological procedures such as in vitro production and cloning by nuclear transfer are not as advanced in pigs as in cattle and cannot yet be applied under field conditions. The present paper focuses on genome activation in in vivo-derived, in vitro-produced and nuclear transfer pig embryos with special emphasis on the development of embryonic nucleoli, where the ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes transcribed can be used as markers for genome activity. In addition, contemporary data on gene expression in in vivo-derived pig embryos are reviewed. In in vivo-derived pig embryos, pronounced transcription is initiated at the four-cell stage (the third cell cycle after fertilization), when nucleoli develop. In parallel with the development of the nucleoli as a result of rRNA gene activation, a cascade of other genes is also likely to be transcribed. However, apart from identification of transcripts for the oestrogen receptor at the blastocyst stage, reports on mRNAs resulting from initial transcription of the pig embryonic genome are lacking, in contrast to the situation in cattle and, in particular, mice. More information is available on gene expression during elongation of pig conceptuses, when the genes for steroidogenic enzymes, extracellular matrix receptors, oestrogen receptors, growth factors and their receptors, as well as retinol binding protein and retinoic acid receptors, are expressed. Nucleolus development appears to be disturbed in in vitro-produced pig embryos and in pig embryos reconstructed by nuclear transfer of granulosa cells to enucleated metaphase II oocytes produced by oocyte maturation in vivo or in vitro, which is indicative of disturbances in activation of rRNA genes.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Reproduction (Cambridge, England) Supplement|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|
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