A groundbreaking achievement has been made by a team of researchers from the United States and the United Kingdom, who announced the successful creation of the world's first synthetic human embryo-like structures using stem cells. This remarkable development bypasses the need for eggs and sperm in the creation of such structures.
It is crucial to know that these synthetic embryo-like structures are still in the initial stages of human development and do not have essential organs such as a functioning heart or brain. Nevertheless, scientists believe that they hold significant potential for advancing our understanding of genetic diseases and the underlying causes of miscarriages.
Dr. Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, a biology and biological engineering professor at CalTech and the University of Cambridge, presented the study at the Annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell in Boston. While the research has been accepted by a respected scientific journal, it has yet to be published.
The newly created embryo-like structures from human stem cells consist of three distinct tissue layers, which mimic the formation of a yolk sac, a placenta, and the embryo itself. Notably, these structures also feature germ cells that have the potential to develop into eggs and sperm.
At present, the synthetic model human embryos remain confined to test tubes, as it is illegal to implant them in a womb. The primary goal of this research is not to create life but to prevent its loss by gaining insights into why embryos fail to develop after fertilization and implantation. The limited knowledge about this critical phase in human development, particularly in the context of in vitro fertilization, underscores the significance of these synthetic embryos in further research.
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