Researchers have embedded a sensor inside the ovum to monitor its development. Work in detail has shown the process that occurs in the early stages of embryo formation, according to a study by scientists from Bath University, published in the journal Nature Materials.
Scientists have introduced a silicon-based nanodevice with sperm into the mouse’s egg cell. As a result, they managed to get a healthy unicellular embryo, inside which was a tracking device.
The sensor looks like an extremely small spider (about 22 nanometers) – it has eight very thin and flexible legs that measure the pulling and pushing forces inside the cell with high accuracy. This allows you to determine the effective cellular forces and show how the intracellular substance is rearranged over time.
Mouse embryos were chosen for the study because of their relatively large size – their diameter is about 100 microns, while in most other mammals the diameter of a single-celled embryo is about 10 microns. This size means that the device could easily fit inside a fertilized egg.
The study confirmed the hypothesis that the material inside a living cell is not static, but instead changes its properties in a predetermined way when the cell performs its function or responds to the environment.