The tetraploid complementation assay is a technique in biology in which cells of two mammalian embryos are combined to form a new embryo. It is used to construct genetically modified organisms, to study the consequences of certain mutations on embryonal development, and in the study of pluripotent stem cells.
Normal mammalian somatic cells are diploid: each chromosome (and thus every gene) is present in duplicate (excluding genes from X chromosome absent in Y chromosome). The assay starts with producing a tetraploid cell in which every chromosome exists fourfold. This is done by taking an embryo at the two-cell stage and fusing the two cells by applying an electrical current. The resulting tetraploid cell will continue to divide, and all daughter cells will also be tetraploid.
Such a tetraploid embryo can develop normally to the blastocyst stage and will implant in the wall of the uterus. The tetraploid cells can form the extra-embryonic tissue (placenta, etc.); h