Scientists have created balls of cells that resemble embryos and trigger signs of early pregnancy in macaques. The stem-cell-derived blastoids could help researchers understand human embryo development without the ethical dilemmas of using real embryonic cells, according to a study published today in Cell Stem Cell1.

“The work highlights the amazing potential of stem-cell- based embryo models as a means to explore embryonic stages that are typically difficult to access in vivo,” says Naomi Moris, a developmental biologist at the Francis Crick Institute in London.

The mechanisms of human embryo development are still largely unstudied, owing to the ethical difficulties of sourcing and experimenting with human embryos. In the laboratory, researchers have previously generated blastoids — balls of cells that resemble blastocysts, the clusters of dividing cells that form about five to six days after fertilization. In March 2021, for instance, a team led by Leqian Yu, a developmental biologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, successfully produced blastoids from human stem cells and developed them for ten days in a culture dish2

Categories: Stem Cells therapy


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