Summary. A hatched human blastocyst obtained after in-vitro fertilization and culture was examined by transmission electron microscopy and the ultrastructural features compared with hatched mouse and bovine blastocysts. The human blastocyst contained a continuous layer of trophoblast cells with apical junctional complexes, an inner cell mass and the beginning of a primitive endoderm layer. Certain ultrastructural features were common to the blastocysts of all 3 species; these included characteristic junction regions between adjacent trophoblast cells, an abundance of microvilli on the external surfaces of the blastocysts and the presence of well developed mitochondria and numerous ribosomes in the trophoblast cells. The features that were dissimilar included the extent of development of the endoderm layer, the appearance of the inner cell mass and the nature and extent of vesicular inclusions in the trophoblast cells.
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