Scientists created ‘synthetic’ embryo with a brain without using egg or sperm cells

The UK authors argue that their work had been going through the review process for about a year, even before the Israel paper was submitted for publication, and that their model is more complex than any other model to date.

“This is really the first model that allows you to study brain development in the context of the whole developing mouse embryo,” said Zernicka.

In 2021, the Israeli team demonstrated that it was possible to grow embryos in a beaker for up to six days. The Cambridge team said they are working on their own approach as well, reported Gizmodo.

Research can ‘help’ in early failed pregnancies

The researchers believe that this study will eventually help identify the numerous reasons why pregnancies can fail early on, even before people are aware of them.

Up to 50 percent of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage, according to the March of Dimes, an Arlington, Va.-based organization. However, estimates may vary.

“So many pregnancies fail around this time, before most women realize they are pregnant,” said Zernicka.

“This period is the foundation for everything else that follows in pregnancy. If it goes wrong, the pregnancy will fail.”

Many embryos created through in-vitro fertilization, on the other hand, can fail to implant or grow. If nothing else, simply studying these earliest stages of growth up close could provide scientists with all sorts of information on how we become the way we are, said the researchers.

If the UK research team’s methods with human stem cells are successful in the future, they could be used to guide the development of synthetic organs for patients in need of a transplant.

The study, which was first published in Nature, is the result of years of research by scientists at the University of Cambridge.

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