Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending August 28, 2022. 

COVID-19 Vaccines International Pregnancy Exposure Registry (C-VIPER)

More than 8,000 pregnant vaccinated women are already participating in our survey.

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A map of every cell in the (fly) embryo

Fruit flies are among biologists’ favorite model organisms.Using machine learning, researchers have just made a flow chart of fly development, starting from the single fertilized egg and mapping where and when each cell type arises and how it gets to its final place in the embryo. Read more here.

This is important for you because it is just crazy cool.

Cricket embryos are pretty, and informative

Not all biologists study flies. A few who choose to work with crickets just discovered that cell nuclei in cricket embryos move to where they need to be to form the blastoderm (a hollow ball of cells that is a very early stage in embryonic development) because they are pulled into empty space. Read more here.

This is important for you because collaborative research between people in different fields–like evolutionary development and math–is always nice to learn about.

Longer breastfeeding helps the baby avoid obesity (in rats)

Rat pups who nursed for an extra week were less likely to have metabolic deisorders and become obese when they grew up, even when they are fed high fat chow (yes, that actually is the technical term). Read more here.

This is important for you because we are still discovering ways that breastfeeding is great for you baby and you–IF you can manage it.

How decades-old eggs make brand new embryos

Baby girls are born with all of the egg cells they ever have. So those egg cells are formed as the baby is developing in utero, and are therefore as old as the girl herself. Yet the egg cells stay fresh and viable for decades until they are fertilized, whereas most other cells have been replaced innumerable times by then. They do this by making energy in a unique way, a way that doesn’t generate DNA-damaging reactive oxygen species, like making cellular energy usually does in other contexts. Read more here.

This is important for you because the scientists who discovered this mechanism hope that it can be exploited to save the eggs of young women with cancer who have to go chemotherapy.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Your Baby’s Summer Bedtime Routine. Read it here.

Diana Gitig
Dr. Diana Gitig has a Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics from Cornell University, and has been writing about issues in biology – from molecular biology to cancer to immunology to neuroscience to nutrition to agriculture - for the past fifteen years. She has three teenaged children.

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