Cellular Biology

How does Cell Migration Work in a Fetus



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As a mother of one, I felt many different sensations in my expanding belly that were indescribable. I can not say for sure that a woman can feel the cell migration,but feeling the baby's movements,for me,makes up for not having that knowledge.Yet, there are people out there that are interested in the development of a baby, and part of that development is the cell migration.

First of all,the Zygote(or fertilized egg,), after spending a few days traveling through the fallopian tubes after conception, divides to form a ball of rapidly multiplying cells. This rapid multiplying is known as a Blastocyst.Each and every cell within this mass will contain the genetic makeup of both the mother and father.In all,32 cells will be made. The Zygote is now known as a Morula.

The ball of cells migrate into the uterine wall where they help to develop a placenta(a placenta helps to nourish the embryo). This is known as Trophoblast. It takes around five days to happen. By this time, the mother's body has changed to help accomodate the growing baby.The cells not only multiply, they begin to take on specific functions,including blood cells,kidney cells,etc...This is called Differentiation.

Afterwards,the ball of cells migrate,again,but this time to create layers around the placenta. This process is known as Gastrulation.All of this happens practically within the first trimester of pregnancy!

Finally, when the layers are developed, the cells migrate to various destinations within the embryo to help develop other organs, including the arms, legs, spinal cord, brain, and heart. There are three different types,which are the endoderm which helps to develop the digestive organs, lungs, and bladder.The mesoderm which helps to develop the muscles, skeleton, and blood system. And finally, the ectoderm which helps develop the nervous system and skin. Now, don't confuse cell migration with cell signaling.There is no signaling in a migration, it just naturally happens, like most of the wonderful things in life do.

As you can see,amazing things happen during the development of a baby.Yet, the thing to remember is that our cells continue to migrate even after we are born,all the way until the point that we die.For example,the continuous renewal of our skin takes the migration of cells as well as intestinal cells that aid in digestion have to continuously migrate as we age.

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