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Artificial embryos made from stem cells could shed light on infertility, miscarriages and birth defects

| | July 10, 2019

Scientists have created living entities that resemble very primitive human embryos, the most advanced example of these structures yet created in a lab. 

The researchers hope these creations, made from human embryonic stem cells, will provide crucial new insights into human development and lead to new ways to treat infertility and prevent miscarriages, birth defects and many diseases. The researchers say this is the first time scientists have created living models of human embryos with three-dimensional structures.

“It’s very exciting work,” says Insoo Hyun, a bioethicist at the Case Western Reserve University and Harvard Medical School who was not involved in the research. “But it does send folks down the road to thinking very seriously about where the limits may be ethically for this work.”

A long-standing guideline known as the 14-day rule prohibits scientists from thoroughly studying these and more advanced structures in real human embryos in their labs, because they have to discontinue their experiments after 14 days. Brivanlou’s synthetic embryos may eventually get close to something equivalent.

“These are not actual human embryos,” [researcher Mijo] Simunovic says. “And they would never become human embryos if we let them grow.”

Read full, original post: Scientists Make Model Embryos From Stem Cells To Study Key Steps In Human Development

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