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New device mass-produces ‘primitive’ human embryos for research

| | September 26, 2019
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Image: AP Photo/Paul Sancya
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Scientists have invented a device that can quickly produce large numbers of living entities that resemble very primitive human embryos.

Researchers welcomed the development, described [September 11] in the journal Nature, as an important advance for studying the earliest days of human embryonic development.

“Such human embryo-like structures have a lot of potential to open what we call the so-called black box of human development,” Fu says.

He’s referring to the first few weeks after a sperm fertilizes an egg, when the embryo is inside a woman’s body and hard to study. A long-standing guideline bars scientists from conducting research on embryos in their labs beyond 14 days of development for ethical reasons.

Related article:  Japan poised to permit gene editing on human embryos by 2019

Fu says the ability to produce large numbers of embryoids, which are not subject to the 14-day guideline, will hopefully provide scientists with new insights into important health issues, including how to prevent birth defects and miscarriages. In addition, researchers could use the embryoids to screen drugs, to help determine whether the medications are safe for pregnant women to take.

“Such research can lead to a lot of good,” Fu says.

Read full, original post: Scientists Create A Device That Can Mass-Produce Human Embryoids

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