By 1882 enough was known about the preimplantation developmental stages of mammals that a laboratory course was offered to students at the University of Cambridge in which they recovered and examined these stages from rabbits. The course was part of a larger embryology class given by the brilliant young biologist Francis Maitland Balfour. Balfour’s research concerned the embryology of the chick, elasmobranchs, and the invertebrate Peripatus. In 1879 Walter Heape, at the age of 25, abandoned a business vocation and joined Balfour’s laboratory. A distinguished career followed, for Heape was destined to discover the estrous cycle, perform the first transfer of a mammalian embryo from one female to another, describe the uterine changes in primates during the menstrual cycle, and discover nonspontaneous ovulation.


Embryo Transfer Preimplantation Embryo Mammalian Embryo Osmic Acid Mammalian Ovum 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • John D. Biggers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Laboratory of Human Reproduction and Reproductive BiologyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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