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Step forward for artificial embryo development

Tuesday July 24th, 2018

British scientists have reported a key step in the development of artificial embryos.

For the first time researchers have produced stem collections to produce embryo-like structures capable of gastrulation.

Gastrulation is the stage in embryo development at which cells organise themselves into the correct structure.

The work was reported in Nature Cell Biology by researchers at Cambridge University.

Researcher Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz said: “Proper gastrulation in normal development is only possible if you have all three types of stem cell. In order to reconstruct this complex dance, we had to add the missing third stem cell.

“By replacing the jelly that we used in earlier experiments with this third type of stem cell, we were able to generate structures whose development was astonishingly successful.”

She added: “Our artificial embryos underwent the most important event in life in the culture dish.

“They are now extremely close to real embryos. To develop further, they would have to implant into the body of the mother or an artificial placenta.”

Sozen, B et al. Self-assembly of embryonic and two extra-embryonic stem cell types into gastrulating embryo structures. Nature Cell Biology; 23 Jul 2018; doi: 10.1038/s41556-018-0147-7

Tags: Childbirth and Pregnancy | UK News

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