UNBELIEVABLE – Scientists Implanted Bar Code Tags inside one day mouce embryos. Human ones coming soon.

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UNBELIEVABLE – Scientists Implant Bar code tags, inside one day embryos !!!! Soon and inside humans



UNBELIEVABLE – Scientists Implant Bar code tags, inside one day embryos !!!! Soon and inside humans

Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
         Fig. 1 A scanning electron microscope image of a barcode.
  Fig. 2. Light microscope micrograph of an in vitro cultured macrophage cell with polysilicon barcode. Picture was taken with a 40x objective on an inverted optical microscope
Fig. 3. Light microscope micrograph of a mouse embryo at the two-cell stage with different polysilicon barcodes adhered to the zona pellucida. Picture was taken with a 20x objective on in inverted optical microscope.



Diverse types of barcodes have been designed in order to track living cells in vivo or in vitro, but none of them can follow an individual cell up to ten or more days. Until now, codes have been envisaged to follow different
cell subpopulations mixed in the same culture, to track a minority group of cells representing the whole population or to follow a subpopulation of cells in vivo.
Individual cell tracking is important to evaluate individual cell behavior (cell survival, cell movement, relationship with other cells, etc.) under different conditions (exposure to toxic gases or compounds, therapeutic drugs, source of light, a chemical stimulus, etc.). Individual cell tracking is also of great interest in embryo traceability in assisted reproduction technologies (ART) to make sure that the embryo to be transferred belongs to the right couple.

A biocompatible and non-cytotoxic encoded microparticle has been developed to track isolated cells or embryos. It is an useful tool in research to follow the behavior of individual cells exposed to different conditions or different therapeutic drugs and in clinical settings to track individual oocytes and embryo as well. We are seeking a company partner to further develop the technology through a co-development and license agreement.


The invention
A biocompatible and non-cytotoxic encoded microparticle for labeling or tracking an isolated cell (e.g. macrophages, fibroblasts, ESC or oocytes) or an isolated embryo has been developed. The microparticle is made of a biocompatible material using silicon microtechnologies. This technology allows the production of thousands of barcodes containing different codes. Its external shape comprises a code by which it can be identified using an inverted optical microscope with an objective between 20X – 100X. Its dimensions are small enough that it can be introduced into or attached to isolated cells or embryos.

Contrary to previous labeling and tracking devices, the code of the microparticle is comprised in its external shape. The code of the particle may thus be considered a spatial code. There is no need for fluorochromes to be able to identify the code.

Innovative aspects and applications
– Encoded microparticules as a High throughput screening cells tool.
– Encoded microparticules for tracking human embryo in IVF treatment.
– Biocompatible and no cytotoxicity.
– Adherence to zona pellucida or plasma membrane .
– Optical microscopy code identification.
– Low-cost manufacture and high versatility.
State of development
– Barcodes have been tested in cells (macrophages) and in mouse embryos.
– Studies of Biocompatibility and cytotoxity have been carried out in macrophages and mouse embryos (during the pre-implantation development, from zygote to hatching stage).
– Barcodes are made using silicon microtechnologies (MEMs and NEMs fabrication) which allow the production of the devices with dimensions in the micron range.
Ongoing research
– Adherence to plasma membrane. Results are expected at the end of the second quarter of the year.
– In vivo studies in mouse. Results are expected within the last quarter of the year.

 Download it here

Autonomous University of Barcelona – Encoded (with barcodes) microparticles for isolated cell and embryo.pdf


Oxford Journals – Human Reproduction  

A novel embryo identification system by direct tagging of mouse embryos using silicon-based barcodes



Critics of the selection that’s often involved in assisted reproductive technology – picking a 5’10”, blond-haired, Ivy League grad egg donor, for example – say it turns conceiving a baby into a shopping exercise. It’s probably safe to venture, however, that none of the critics envisioned a day when we’d be bar-coding embryos.

That is precisely what researchers at the Autonomous University of Barcelona have done, reports New Scientist. Using cells from mouse embryos and eggs, the scientists developed a procedure that involves inserting microscopic silicon bar codes into a gap between the cell membrane and an outer membrane called the zona pellucida.

The next step is to try the technique on human embryos and eggs. That will happen soon; the Government of Catalonia health department has already approved the method for use on genetic material provided by Spanish fertility clinics.

The technique could help fertility doctors avoid mix-ups during in-vitro fertilization – such as a 2002 case in which a white couple gave birth to black twins.

Researchers at the Autonomous University of Barcelona have come up with an ingenious solution for keeping track of embryos and egg cells during in vitro fertilisation procedures: microscopic bar codes.

These mouse eggs were tagged by injecting microscopic silicon bar codes into their perivitelline space, the gap between the cell membrane and an outer membrane called the zona pellucida, which binds sperm cells during fertilisation.

The bar codes, which carry unique binary identification numbers, are biologically inert: they do not affect the rate of embryo development and are shed before the embryos implant into the wall of the uterus. The technique aims to simplify individual embryo identification, streamlining in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer procedures.

The Government of Catalonia’s Department of Health has granted permission for the technique to be developed using human eggs and embryos from fertility clinics in Spain.

The research, published in the journal Human Reproduction, may go some way to avoiding mix ups at fertility clinics.

 the UAB lab studies, labeled embryos were shown to develop normally up until the blastocyst stage, which precedes implantation. The researchers also studied how well the labels stayed on throughout the development cycle, how easily they could be read with a standard microscope, how they could be eliminated after the shedding of the zona pellucida, and how well they could stand up to the freezing and thawing of their host embryo.

There were some problems with embryos being able to free themselves from the labels when they shed the zona pellucida. The scientists are therefore now looking at modifying the surface of the labels, so they could be mounted on the outside of the covering, instead of being injected into the perivitelline space. They are also working on an automated bar code reading system.

Permission has been given by the Government of Catalonia’s Department of Health for UAB to begin testing its system with human oocytes and embryos from several fertility clinics in Spain.

The research was recently published in the journal Human Reproduction.