3rd International Symposium on Embryonic Diapause

June 02-06, 2019

Welcome to Monte Verità in Ascona, Switzerland!

What is embryonic diapause?  Embryonic diapause is the reversible arrest of embryonic development, usually at the blastocyst stage present in more than 130 species of mammals across a wide range of taxa.  Examples can be found among the marsupials, carnivores, bats, and deer.

What is the biological importance of embryonic diapause?  Diapause uncouples mating from parturition, thereby allowing young to be born under the most favorable conditions for their survival.

Why should we study embryonic diapause?  Many of the species that display the trait are endangered, and a better understanding of their biology is essential.  Cellular quiescence has a wide range of applications to stem cell biology and cancer cells.

What are the most important scientific questions to be addressed at the 3rd International Symposium on Embryonic Diapause?

  • Evolution of embryonic diapause:  Did diapause evolve as a single evolutionary event to be exploited by a wide range of species, or did it arise multiple times in parallel evolution?
  • Arrest in embryo development: What regulates entry into the mitotic quiescence of the embryo in diapause? What cellular processes persist to maintain the embryo in diapause?  What are the embryonic events associated with the termination of diapause?
  • Uterine regulation of embryonic diapause: Does the uterus actively prevent continued development during diapause, or does diapause occur due to the lack of critical factors essential for continuation of development beyond the blastocyst stage?  What signals comprise the utero-embryonic dialogue during the inception and escape phases of diapause?
  • Embryonic diapause and current biology: The original embryonic stem cells were derived from diapause embryos, and stem cell biology studies arrested embryonic cells.  Induction of diapause in species that do not normally express the trait has significant biological and practical implications.