In a big breakthrough, scientists have created embryo-like structures in the lab from stem cells, without using sperm or eggs.
To achieve this, researchers combined two different kinds of stem cells from mice in a dish. The cells were then implanted into the womb lining of live female mice where they grew into an early form of embryo.
The research was conducted by a team led by Nicolas Rivron, from the MERLN Institute of Maastricht University.
Rivron said, “This is the first time we have created structures in the lab from stem cells which have the potential to form the whole organism – the baby, placenta, and yolk sac.”
Scientists are hopeful that this research will prove to be very helpful in the future. It will be a major step toward creating synthetic embryos that closely resemble natural ones. This research is also expected to shed light on the early development of embryos and help improve fertility treatment procedures.
Rivron said, “This breakthrough has opened up the black box of early pregnancy.”
“They will help us better understand the hidden processes at the start of life, to find solutions for fertility problems, and to develop new drugs without the use of lab animals.”