When did you start speaking? Conventional wisdom would suggest that it would be around the one-year old mark. The conventional wisdom could be off by quite a bit in this case. I believe that the first word of our lives was uttered even before we opened our eyes.
We have been talking since we were embryos. Yes, embryos do talk. The language is not well understood, and it is inaudible, but embryos do speak to their mothers even before implanting in the uterus. In fact, one big reason we are here is probably because we were such big talkers in utero.
Since the inception of in vitro fertilization in 1977, the rate of successful pregnancies has not increased beyond 50%. One of the biggest causes for the low success rate is the failure of the embryo to implant in the endometrium, the innermost lining layer of the uterus.
Scientists have been busy trying to come up with reasons for the low amount of implantation. One of the hypotheses trying to describe the phenomenon, posits that embryos and the endometrium communicate with each other and this communication, if successful, causes the endometrium to change chemically, physiologically and morphologically bringing about the “window of implantation” which leads to a successful implantation.
In the Transgeno research group led by the University of Tartu professor Alireza Fazeli, we are very much interested in baby talk, that is embryo-maternal communication.
Since it would be highly unethical to test any actual human embryos for embryo-maternal communication, we have used a malignant cell-line based system to replicate the microenvironment immediately prior to embryo implantation.Continue reading