Scientists have created “artificial embryos” using stem cells from mice, in what they believe is a world first.
The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Cambridge and Akdeniz University, Turkey. And it was funded by the Wellcome Trust and the European Research Council and was published in the peer-reviewed journal Science.
The study looked at the development of mouse embryos combining embryonic stem cells and cells that form the placental tissue, rather than starting from a fertilised egg.
The researchers took mouse embryonic stem cells (ES cells) and trophoblast stem (TS) cells, which are cells that are used to develop the placenta in normal pregnancy, and put them in a scaffold in a gel culture that allowed them to develop together.
Of all the structures they created, 22% were made from both ES and TS cells, 61% from ES cells only and 17% from TS cells only.
They found that the timing and spatial arrangement of the cell development was very similar to the development of a usual mouse embryo.
However, this does not mean that the creation of artificial human life is now possible