Synthetic mouse embryo with a brain developed using stem cells

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Scientists have grown synthetic mouse embryos from stem cells, without using sperm and eggs as is normally required. The model embryo contains the foundation for the heartbeat and even the brain and other organs of the rat’s body. The feat was achieved after years of study and is likely to help researchers discover why some embryos successfully develop into embryos while others fail to do so. In addition, the new research may also guide the development and repair of synthetic human organs for transplantation.

To create a synthetic embryo, a team from the University of Cambridge and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) made fun of Natural processes involved in embryonic development. However, they did not use sperm or eggs, but directed the three types of stem cells found in early mammalian development to interact. Next, the team was able to make the stem cells “talk” to each other by inducing the expression of a particular set of genes and providing a unique environment for interaction.

Stem cells ended up self-organizing into structures that went on to progress through successive developmental stages. The end result of this progress was the heartbeat and the foundation of the brain. It also contains a yolk sac where the embryo develops and receives nutrients in the first weeks.

While such mouse embryos have been developed in previous studies using stem cells, the team believes they have achieved the most advanced stage of the model. What sets this model apart is the construction of the whole brain, especially its front part.

“Our mouse embryonic model develops not only a brain, but also a beating heart, which develops all the components known to make up the body. It’s incredible that we’ve gotten this far This has been the dream of our community for years, said Magdalena Zernica-Goetz, Professor of Mammalian Development and Stem Cell Biology in Cambridge’s Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, and the major focus of our work for a decade, and finally we done it. He is also the author study published in Nature,

Zernica-Goetz said the model is important because it gives them access to a stage of developing structure that is normally hidden due to implantation of the embryo into the mother’s womb.


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