Scientists create artificial embryo, without sperm, eggs and uterus 10:51 in Abroad, Remarkable When the scientists took a pregnancy test, it gave a positive result: even the cells that produce the hormone that such a test measures were found to be present.

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The artificial embryo that the scientists developed with stem cells
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Scientists have succeeded in creating an artificial human embryo. A very first form of life, without the use of sperm, eggs or a uterus. The researchers hope to use their ‘model embryo’ to learn more about the very first, crucial phase in the development of human life. The research has been published in the scientific journal Nature.

The scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel used stem cells to create something that closely resembles a human embryo. They then managed to grow it in the lab into a collection of cells that show the same properties as a fourteen-day-old embryo.

Even the cells that make the hormone used in pregnancy tests were present. When the scientists used a commercial pregnancy test, it gave a positive result.

Reprogram stem cells

The development is made possible by a new technique developed by one of the project’s researchers. This allows the stem cells to be reprogrammed in such a way that they can change into any type of cell. The scientists used chemicals to ensure that these stem cells are converted into the four types of cells that can be found in an embryo.

In this video you can see the hormone used in pregnancy tests (green) and the outer layer that becomes the placenta (pink):

Dynamic Models of Complete, Day 14 Human Embryos Grown from Stem Cells in a Weizmann Lab - 3

Dynamic Models of Complete, Day 14 Human Embryos Grown from Stem Cells in a Weizmann Lab – 3

Under optimized, specifically developed conditions, these cells were mixed together and the researchers waited to see what would happen. “An embryo is self-managing by definition: we don’t have to tell it what to do,” said Jacob Hanna, one of the scientists.

So that worked, eventually to a model that is equal to that of a fourteen-day embryo. That’s when organ development kicks in.

Knowledge about the start of life

The model thus offers an ethically sound way to learn more about the very first stages of a human life. That is still quite a mystery so far: there is still little knowledge about it, says the team of scientists behind the model.

This is because research with real embryos is legally, ethically and technically difficult and fraught. An artificially developed embryo like this makes it easier to monitor the very first stage of development.

The hope is that the model can explain how different cells are formed, how organs are built, and especially to see how and why things sometimes go wrong in that crucial first phase. For example, due to hereditary or genetic diseases. Also, drugs could be tested without endangering a pregnancy.

The artificially developed embryo has already provided new insights to prevent miscarriages. The researchers found that other parts of the embryo cannot form if it is not enveloped by placenta-forming cells.

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