The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 52: 163 - 169 (2008)

Vol 52, Issue 2-3

Special Issue: Developmental Biology in Poland

Early mammalian embryo: my love. An interview with Andrzej K. Tarkowski

Published: 30 November -0001

Marek Maleszewski* and Andrzej K. Tarkowski

Department of Embryology, Institute of Zoology, Faculty of Biology, Warsaw University, Warsaw, Poland


The scientific interests of professor Andrzej K. Tarkowski have always revolved around experimental mammalian embryology. In 1959, he described the development of normal fertile mice from a single blastomere isolated from a 2-blastomere embryo; this was the first ever, successful experiment in the mouse reported in the literature. Later he proposed that during cleavage, the fate of blastomeres is labile and their further contribution to the inner cell mass or trophectoderm depends on their position in the morula (the so called "inside ­ outside hypothesis"). In 1961, Tarkowski reported the birth of chimaeric mice produced experimentally by the aggregation of two early embryos. This study again confirmed the great developmental flexibility of early mammalian embryos. He also devised a special technique for studying chromosomes in oocytes and early mammalian embryos, initiated studies on experimental parthenogenesis in the mouse, and studied developmental effects of induced chromosome aberrations such as triploidy, tetraploidy and diploid/tetraploid mosaicism. Tarkowski's group also studied oocyte maturation, fertilization and nucleo-cytoplasmic interactions in germ cells and early embryos, including remodelling of somatic nuclei transplanted to egg-cells. Some of the observations made in the latter studies have contributed to the development of techniques of mammalian cloning. Tarkowski was a head of the Department of Embryology from 1964 to 2003, and director of the Institute of Zoology at the Faculty of Biology in Warsaw University (1972-81 and 1987-2003). In 2003 he retired, but nontheless continues his research.


mammalian embryology, mouse, regulative development, isolated blastomere, chimaera

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