The good egg: on the onset of transcription in mouse and human embryos

In 1996, Tony Perry joined the laboratory of Ryuzo Yanagimachi, where he was part of the team that developed mammalian nuclear transfer cloning and transgenesis by sperm injection (ICSI). He continued this work at the Rockefeller University before joining RIKEN, Japan, to study the earliest events of development after fertilisation, including the mechanism of meiotic exit. Tony joined the University of Bath in 2010 and is currently integrating themes of the last 25 years to study and manipulate processes in one-cell mouse and human embryos.


At the moment of union in fertilisation, sperm and oocyte are transcriptionally silent, but little is understood about how transcription initiates in the newly-formed embryo. In this talk, I shall suggest why this fundamental process has remained arcane for so long, and how my lab has sought to unlock its secrets in mouse and human embryos. By combining micromanipulation and single-cell RNA-sequencing, we have revealed a programme of embryonic transcription initiation beginning within four hours of fertilisation in the mouse. The talk will outline how we have sought to characterise this initiating transcription and its conservation in human one-cell embryos. Transcribed genes predict regulation by oncogenic factors, including c-Myc, whose features will be detailed, together with a model suggesting predictive parallels between the onset of embryogenesis and cancer.
Date: 21 February 2023, 13:00 (Tuesday, 6th week, Hilary 2023)
Venue: This event will be hybrid. It will take place on Zoom as well as in-person
Speaker: Professor Tony Perry (Department of Life Sciences, University of Bath)
Organising department: Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health
Organisers: Dr Lydia Coxon (NDWRH, University of Oxford), Dr Wei Zhang (NDWRH, University of Oxford)
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Booking required?: Required
Booking email:
Audience: Members of the University only
Editor: Danielle Hoare