Artificial Embryos Created in the Laboratory

Artificial Embryos

Embryos are the initial forms of development of baby (humans, animals etc.) in mother’s womb. Till recently, we have not heard of creation of artificial embryos without the combination of sperms and ova. However, it is a shock of surprise when we come to know the latest developments in bio technology wherein embryos are being artificially developed in laboratory. The scientist-duo (Prof. Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz) of Cambridge University have developed artificial embryos by combining two live mouse stem cells and processing in laboratory on 3D scaffold. After a four-day process with mimic conditions inside the womb, the mixture of cells turned into living embryo structures of mouse.

This study has shown the breakthrough results in Bioengineering. This allows the scientists to grow artificial human embryos in the laboratory without the need for male & female zygotes i.e., a sperm from male or an ovum from female. This study enables to understand the early stages of human life so that scientists can infer the reasons as to why so many pregnancies have been failing. However it has some ethical issues about human life.

Prof. Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz said, “We knew that interactions between the different types of stem cells are important for development, but the striking thing that our new work illustrates is that this is a real partnership – these cells truly guide each other”

Artificial Embryos Research Information:

The Cambridge University team research work has been published in the journal Science. Research Article was published on "Assembly of embryonic and extra-embryonic stem cells to mimic embryo genesis in vitro"

Artificial Embryos formation

Abstract: 

Mammalian embryogenesis requires intricate interactions between embryonic and extra-embryonic tissues to orchestrate and coordinate morphogenesis with changes in developmental potential. Here, we combine mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and extra-embryonic trophoblast stem cells (TSCs) in a 3D-scaffold to generate structures whose morphogenesis is remarkably similar to natural embryos.

Artificial Embryos

Artificial Embryos formation

By using genetically-modified stem cells and specific inhibitors, we show embryo genesis of ESC- and TSC-derived embryos, ETS- embryos, depending on crosstalk involving Nodal signaling. When ETS- embryos develop, they spontaneously initiate expression of mesoderm and primordial germ cell markers asymmetrically on the embryonic and extra-embryonic border, in response to Wnt and BMP signaling. Our study demonstrates the ability of distinct stem cell types to self-assemble in vitro to generate embryos whose morphogenesis, architecture, and constituent cell-types resemble natural embryos.

Credit: Cambridge University and Scientists. Artificial Embryos

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