Experts have created “synthesized” mouse embryos from stem cells without using the father’s sperm or the mother’s eggs or uterus.

The lab-made embryos reflect natural rat embryos up to eight and a half days after fertilization, and have equivalent designs that include things like heartbeats.

In the near future, experts expect to use these so-called embryoid bodies to learn more about the early stages of evolution and the research process behind disease, without the need for many laboratory animals. This achievement may also anchor the basis for creating synthetic human embryos for research in the coming years.

Lluis Montoliu, a research professor at the National Center for Biotechnology in Spain, said: “We are facing a new technological revolution that is undoubtedly still very inefficient, but with tremendous potential.” He “reminiscent of dazzling scientific advances, such as the birth of Dolly the Sheep.” etc.

The research paper was published in Nature on August 25, 2022, and Magdalena Zernica-Goetz of the California Institute of Technology and her colleagues recently defined a synthetic mouse embryo. The equivalent study by Jacob Hanna and his colleagues at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel was published earlier this month in Cell. Hannah was also a co-writer for Nature.

Stem cell biology expert Zernicka-Goetz says one of the main reasons for studying the early stages of evolution is why so many human pregnancies fall at the early stages and embryos made for in vitro fertilization do not succeed in inserting and evolving in 70% of cases. He argued that it was in order to gain more insight. She noted that studying natural evolution is difficult for many reasons, including cases where only a few human embryos are given for study and experts suffer from moral constraints.

Creating an embryo design is another approach to study these cases.

To create a synthetic embryo, or “embryo,” as defined in the journal Nature, the experts combined embryonic stem cells and extracts from two different strains of stem cells from mice. They performed this experiment in the lab, using a specific type of dish that allowed the three cell transformations to come together. Zernicka-Goetz argued that, although not all of the embryos they made were suitable, the perfect embryos were “identical” from native mouse embryos. In addition to the heart-shaped design, they also evolve the head-shaped architecture.

“This is truly the first model that allows you to study brain development in the context of whole mouse embryonic development,” she noted.

The basis of this study dates back many years, and Zernicka-Goetz and Hanna claim that their team has been functioning in this research field for many years.

The next steps, the experts claim, include inducing synthetic mouse embryos to evolve beyond eight and a half days, ultimately aiming to acquire them by a period of 20 days for mice.

At this moment, they are “struggling” to get past eight and a half days, asserts Gianluca Amadei, co-author of the Cambridge University-based Nature magazine. “We think we will be able to get them through a difficult hurdle, so to speak, so that they can continue to develop.”

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