Two teams of scientists have independently created synthetic mouse embryos in a lab without using eggs or sperm cells in a major leap forward for the field of developmental and stem cell biology.cientists were able to nurture these embryos to form a brain, a beating heart and the foundations for all other organs in the body.
These man-made embryos could have massive implications for the future of medicine, as scientists seek to apply their findings to human embryos and use them to grow organs for transplant at a time when more than 4,000 Canadians are currently on a wait-list for organ donations. The recent advancements may also help researchers investigate what causes some pregnancies to fail and could help pinpoint specific genes that cause developmental disorders and birth defects.
One of the teams behind this groundbreaking advancement was helmed by Prof. Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, a developmental biologist from the University of Cambridge. Her team used stem cells from a mouse to create a synthetic embryo that they were able to keep alive for 8.5 days, according to a Cambridge press release. Full mouse gestation takes about 20 days.