DR YORGOS NIKAS / BIOL. REPROD. / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR YORGOS NIKAS / BIOL. REPROD. / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Embryo cell junction. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the junction between two blastomere cells in an 8-cell embryo, 3 days old. At lower and upper frame are two blastomere cells. The surface of each cell is covered in microvilli (red), tiny projections. Microvilli increase the cell surface area, and here also function as bridges communicating between the cells. At the 8- cell stage, these embryo cells are loosely joined allowing the cells to be separated for in vitro studies. On day 4 blastomere cells fuse together tightly (compaction) and are no longer easy to separate. Magnification: x4200 at 5x7cm size.
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