ScienceScientists create 'human embryo model' without egg or sperm for research purposes

    Scientists create ‘human embryo model’ without egg or sperm for research purposes

    A 14-day human embryo model has been created by Israeli researchers without the use of gametes. An advance which should make it possible to facilitate research on embryos, which is often confronted with ethics.

    A 14 day old embryo, created without sperm, eggs or uterus. Although this may seem futuristic, this scientific advance was indeed made by Israeli researchers from the Weizmann Institute.

    “This is the first embryo model that shows structural organization of compartments and morphological similarity to a human embryo at day 14,” said Professor Jacob Hanna, who led the study published in the journal Nature this week. Wednesday, on the BBC.

    The objective? To be able to intensify research on the first moments of human life still poorly understood by scientists without resorting to human embryos. Which poses legal, ethical and technical problems.

    “It’s a black box, and it’s not a cliche: our knowledge is very limited,” added the professor to the British media.

    Enabling advances in fertility or disease

    More precisely, this would be used to look at hereditary and genetic diseases, to fight against miscarriages, to improve the success rates of in-vitro fertilization or even to check the compatibility of drugs with pregnancy.

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    This study would have already made it possible to know, for example, that certain parts of the embryo are not formed if the first cells of the placenta do not surround it.

    To achieve this embryo model, which visually resembles that of a 14-day-old human, almost like two drops of water, the researchers started with stem cells capable of transforming into different types of cells. And therefore to recreate the four types of cells present in the early stages of the human embryo.

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    Of the 120 stem cells mixed, about 1% began to assemble spontaneously. Which however leaves 99% failure.

    The development of this model embryo was limited to 14 days, the legal limit in many countries for research on human embryos.

    An “embryo model” compatible with pregnancy?

    If this scientific advance aims to overcome an ethical problem, it raises another question: would it be possible to achieve pregnancy with these embryo models?

    The answer is no. “This embryo model would not be able to develop if transferred into a uterus, because it bypasses the step necessary to attach to the wall of the uterus,” said Dr Peter Rugg-Gunn. who studies embryonic development at the Babraham Institute in the United Kingdom, Guardian.

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    The latter, however, stressed that this work, and other similar studies, “raise important ethical considerations” and are the subject of “in-depth evaluation and discussions” on the international scene.

    This is agreed by Professor James Briscoe, of the Francis Crick Institute, interviewed by the BBC prior to this study. For him, scientists must “proceed with caution, precaution and transparency” to avoid a “chilling effect” on the public.

    Source: BFM TV

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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