We All Begin as One the Same
I know for most people, waking up every morning and looking down a microscope at a developing embryo might not seem that exciting, but for me, it is what I have come to live for.
I’m fascinated, because when you really sit down and think about it, at one point in your existence you were exactly the same as your mother, father, sibling, friend, partner…smelly person next to you on the train.
But not only that, you essentially were exactly the same as your pet dog, cat, rabbit, mouse. As pretty much all mammals.
Because we all started out as a single cell.
And from this single cell, we divided into two cells and then into four and so on. Creating all of the different types of cells in our body that allow us to function as humans.
You think about how different the liver looks to the lungs or your brain functions compared to your heart. But all these extremely different structures came from that one tiny cell.
Not only that, but this one cell, which essentially looks the same across all mammals gives rise to so many different forms. Just think about how different we are to a tiger or a whale.
But fundamentally, we all started out as the same one cell.
I have the amazing opportunity of tracking the development of a mouse embryo from this one cell until day five after fertilization. I get to see it go from a 1-cell to a 2-cell on Tuesday. By Wednesday it is compacting, and individual cells can no longer be easily recognized. On Thursday, if I’m lucky, I may get some blastocysts. And Friday they start to hatch, a bit like a pimple.
And what these mouse embryos are doing, how they are developing is exactly how we humans develop in the beginning. Not as quickly of course as a mouse’s gestation is less than ours, but these fundamental initial process are the same.
Now I may be a little weird, thinking this is fascinating and all. But even if you don’t, and you come away from reading this and think ‘what a crazy’, you have to admit, the pictures are pretty cool.