February 28, 2024

Human embryos are created without an egg or sperm

Artificial embryos can contribute to research into rare genetic disorders and biological causes that lead to miscarriage

Scientists at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and the California Institute of Technology in the United States have developed synthetic human embryos in the laboratory from stem cells, without the use of eggs or sperm.

Model embryos could represent an historic leap forward in science, contributing to research into rare genetic disorders and biological causes that lead women to miscarriage.

Embryos created in the laboratory are similar to those in the early stages of human development and do not yet contain the beginnings of a brain or a beating heart, but include the cells that make up the placenta, yolk sac, and the embryo itself.

“It’s beautiful and made entirely of embryonic stem cells,” Professor Magdalena Zernica-Goetz, a researcher at the University of Cambridge and Caltech, told the paper. Watchman.

The work was presented on Wednesday (6/14), at a meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research in Boston, USA.

“We can create models similar to human embryos by reprogramming embryonic stem cells,” said Professor Magdalena Zernica-Goetz, a researcher at the University of Cambridge and Caltech.

future

The researchers did not clarify whether the artificial embryos could continue to develop beyond the initial stage, which is monitored in the laboratory. The substance cannot be implanted into a patient’s uterus for ethical and legal reasons.

Currently, research of this kind can only be carried out by culturing embryos in the laboratory up to the legal limit of 14 days.

Previous studies by Professor Magdalena’s team showed that stem cells from mice can self-assemble into embryo-like structures with the intestinal tract, the beginnings of the brain and the beating heart.

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