Scientists Develop ‘Model’ Human Embryos From Stem Cells

Per a new report, a team of scientists have managed to make a new model of a human embryo in order to study the earliest stages of human development.

Scientists Make Human Embryo Model For New Research

Recently, scientists and researchers from the University of Cambridge alongside the Hubrecht Institute in the Netherlands managed to create a new model of a human embryo using human embryonic stem cells. Resembling some key elements of a human embryo that is around 18-21 days old, the model reportedly allows the research team to study the earliest stage of human development such as the underlying processes that have never been observed before. Per the team, being able to further understand these processes may help reveal the causes of diseases and human birth defects. Furthermore, being able to understand these may also lead to the development of tests for these in women that are pregnant.

The “blueprint” of an organism, such as person, usually starts in a process called gastrulation, where three layers are formed in the embryo that would later give rise to our body’s major systems. Also called as the “black box” period of human development, many birth effects happen during this phase and a better understanding of it can reveal why the human gastrulation is so vulnerable to many medical issues and diseases.

“Our model produces part of the blueprint of a human. It's exciting to witness the developmental processes that until now have been hidden from view—and from study,” Professor Alfonso Martinez-Arias from the University of Cambridge's Department of Genetics, who led the study, said.

With their study findings published in the journal Nature, the reports reveal the method that they used in order to turn human embryonic stem cells into a three-dimensional assembly of cells that are called gastruloids. However, gastruloids do not have the ability to develop into a fully-formed human embryo since they do not have the brain cells or tissues that are needed to implant themselves into a woman’s womb. This means that they’ll never progress past the development’s earliest stages and that they are within current ethical standards.

Embryo Embryoids are lab-produced embryos made of stem cells that are modified to study early human development. Pixabay