The study claims to have created the first artificial embryo using stem cells

The study claims to have created the first artificial embryo using stem cells

The experiment, conducted by researchers from the United States and the United Kingdom, did not use sperm or eggs; The fetus, however, is still incomplete

A team of researchers from the US and UK claim to have created, for the first time in the history of science, synthetic versions of human embryos from stem cells without the use of eggs or sperm.

However, although they resemble real fetuses early in development, these models do not have all the characteristics of a normal fetus: they do not have a functioning heart or brain structure, but they do have cells that, in human pregnancies, would later give rise to Formation of the placenta, yolk sac and the fetus itself.

However, it remains to be seen whether these structures would be able to continue to evolve if they were implanted in the human womb. – Besides, noBrazil, such action would be illegal.

The team behind the trial say they want to understand why pregnancy fails, which is a growing concern amid the popularization of assisted reproduction methods. There is also an expectation that the findings may contribute to the study of genetic diseases.

Study headed Magdalena Zernica-Goetzfrom the University of Cambridge and Caltech, and was presented on Wednesday (June 14, 2023) in Boston (USA) during the ISSCR (International Society for Stem Cell Research, abbreviated in English) meeting.

The ethical and legal debate

Although no clinical use of these embryos is currently expected, the research raises ethical and legal debates.

While natural embryos fertilized in the laboratory from eggs and sperm could only be legally cultured for up to 14 days, the artificial embryos in the study were not covered by specific legislation and would have been cultured up to a stage beyond that mark: the tasting stage. , when the embryo ceases to be a collection of identical cells and begins to form distinct units, which, later on, will form the basic structures for embryonic development.

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The same group of scientists involved in this experiment has previously demonstrated that it is possible to create a mouse embryo from stem cells, equipped with an intestinal tract, a beginning brain and a beating heart.

Rodent experience had shown that the artificial embryos would be nearly identical to normal embryos, but they did not survive uterine implantation.

In April, Chinese scientists repeated the experiment on monkeys, but no embryos developed for more than a few days after uterine transplantation.



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