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Genetic Linkage

The Biology Behind the Fertility Clinic Meltdown

A surprise thawing could damage the delicate spindle apparatus that separates chromosome sets as an egg is fertilized.
The spindle apparatus is among the most elegant structures in a cell, quickly self-assembling from microtubules and grabbing and aligning chromosomes so that equal sets separate into the two daughter cells that result from a division. But can spindles in cells held at the brink of division in the suspended animation of the deep freeze at a fertility clinic survive being ripped from their slumber off-protocol. That's what happened the weekend of March 4 at the Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco and University Hospitals Fertility Center in Cleveland.

It was a stunning coincidence impacting the eggs or embryos of 500 couples on the west coast and 700 using the Ohio clinic. Liquid nitrogen ran low in a cryogenic device in San Francisco, and temperature fluctuations reportedly plagued the Cleveland facility. Read More 
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