Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 8th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Hinting at Twins
08 December 2015

Hinting at Twins

Scientists don’t fully understand how identical twins are formed, but results published by researchers at the MRC’s Clinical Sciences Centre (CSC) suggest that a gene, called Jarid2, may play a role. The study indicates that Jarid2 acts like the conductor of an orchestra, to co-ordinate how cells in the developing embryo communicate with each other, and to ensure that they respond to growth signals at exactly the right moment. A few days after fertilisation, these cells typically cluster together in a group, called the inner cell mass, which sits inside a ball-like structure, called the blastocyst (blue). The CSC researchers showed that when these cells lacking Jarid2 were introduced to a blastocyst, they formed not one, but two or more inner cell masses (green, left and right). Led by CSC director Amanda Fisher, the scientists suggest that this may be an early stage in the development of identical twins.

Find out more about this study, and similar research at the Clinical Sciences Centre.

Written by Deborah Oakley

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.