The development of embryos may be less shaped by genes than we thought

A scanning electron micrograph of mammalian embryonic stem cells

YORGOS NIKAS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The chemical reactions that cells use to power themselves provide key signals for one of the earliest and most critical steps of an embryo’s development.

The findings bolster growing evidence that metabolism doesn’t just supply cells with energy, but can also influence their decision-making around what cell types to become and how to behave, as well as improving our understanding of how the embryo’s environment influences someone’s later health.

Just after a mammalian embryo implants in the…


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