Scientists Create Artificial Embryo Structure Using Stem Cells

Scientists Create Artificial Embryo Structure Using Stem Cells
Artificial embryos created in a lab

Generally, development of embryo causes due to fertilization and fetal development. But, now scientists from the University of Cambridge have created an artificial embryo structure using stem cell. According to scientists, this research will help them to discover the reason behind why most of the human pregnancies fail at the very early stages.

Lead researcher Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz said, “We are very optimistic that this will allow us to study key events of this critical stage of human development. It does not need to work on embryos. Knowing how development normally occurs will allow us to understand why it so often goes wrong.”

While experiment, scientists used two types of stem cells. 1. Body’s master cell and 2. A 3D scaffold. They then used a combination of genetically modified mouse embryonic stem cells and the extra-embryonic trophoblastic stem cells. By using the 3D scaffold, they were able to grow a structure capable of assembling itself. The structure is relatively similar to a natural embryo.

Zernicka-Goetz said, “Both the embryonic and extra-embryonic cells start to talk to each other and become organized into a structure that looks like and behaves like an embryo. It has anatomically correct regions that develop in the right place and at the right time.”

Through this research, Scientists showed that the development of this artificial embryo has the same process to that of a natural embryo.

Previous attempts to grow embryo-like structures using only ESCs had limited success. It is because early embryo development requires the different types of cell to coordinate closely with each other.

Scientists said, “Through ESCs and TSCs, stem cells organize themselves. A cavity opens up within each cluster before joining together, eventually to become the large, so-called pro-amniotic cavity in which the embryo will develop.”

It is unlikely that it would develop further into a healthy fetus. But for that purpose, it will need a third type of stem cell. That stem cell would allow the development of the yolk sac. It provides nourishment for the embryo and within which a network of blood vessel develops.