Non-invasive test of egg developmental potentialin human (active)

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) have resulted in the birth of millions of individuals worldwide, however, this technology still has many imperfections including low efficiencywith a live birth rate of ~34-40%, and high risk of multiple gestation with its myriad associated risks. Therefore, a reliable biomarker to predict the embryo with the highest developmental potential has been badly needed to advance this technology. Activation or fertilization of mammalian eggs initiates a series of extracellular “zinc (Zn) sparks” that are highly coordinated with intracellular calcium (Ca2+) transients and also necessary to induce the egg-to-embryo transition. Although Ca2+ transients are known to correlate with embryo development, they cannot serve as clinical biomarkers as they occur intracellularly. In contrast, because Zn is released into the extracellular space, this element can be detected in a non-invasive manner and objectively quantified. These characteristics make Zn sparks an ideal biomarker of embryo quality. However, despite the prominence of this Zn-efflux event, it is unknown if the Zn sparks have any effects on the embryonic developmental outcomes. We therefore hypothesize that profiles of Zn sparks are correlated with embryo development and can be used as a biomarker of embryo quality.