Scientists attacking the problem of high miscarriage rates have long wondered if there is a way to tell whether an egg cell will successfully develop into an embryo and grow or if there is a marker indicating when it is destined to fail. Two Rutgers-led research teams have found strong clues in two separate studies using both human and mouse data that will allow them to begin to answer “yes” to both questions.

Reporting in Nature Communications, one team found that mouse egg cells that form an unusual cap-like structure before being fertilized are more likely to be viable, attach to the womb and grow than egg cells without the structure. “These are important findings because, as many people seek [in vitro fertilization] for family building, success rates are low,” said Karen Schindler, a professor in the Department of Genetics in the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and senior author of the paper. “Understanding the basic mechanisms of what makes a high-quality egg and embryo are essential for improving clinical success rates.” To read the full story.