In a breakthrough, scientists have created artificial mouse ‘embryo’ from stem cells for the first time According to telegraph.co.uk, the development has been described as a ‘masterpiece’ in bioengineering, which could eventually allow scientists to grow artificial human embryos in the lab without the need for a sperm or an egg.
The scientists at department of physiology, development and neuroscience of the University of Cambridge have created artificial mouse ‘embryo’ from stem cells for the first time. The scientists at the have managed to create a structure resembling a mouse embryo in culture, using two types of stem cells – the body’s ‘master cells’ – and a 3D scaffold on which they can grow. As per pdn.cam.ac.uk, understanding the very early stages of embryo development is of interest because this knowledge may help explain why more than two out of three human pregnancies fail at this time.
Previous attempts to grow embryo-like structures using only the embryonic stem cells have had limited success. This is because early embryo development requires different types of cell to coordinate closely with each other.
However, in a study published in the journal Science, Cambridge researchers have described how, using a combination of genetically-modified mouse ESCs and trophoblast stem cells, together with a 3D scaffold known as an extracellular matrix, they were able to grow a structure capable of assembling itself and whose development and architecture very closely resembled the natural embryo.
However such work raises important ethical questions about the sanctity of human life and whether it should be manipulated or created in the lab at all. Critics warn that allowing embryos to be grown for science opens the door to designer babies and genetically modified humans, Telegraph reported.