A start-up research company has created a mouse embryo from stem cells, without using an egg, sperm or womb. The company hopes to build on their ground-breaking achievement in the hopes of eventually applying it to human stem cells.
If the plan works, the human stem cells would grow into embryos that could be nurtured in a beaker. With the mouse cells, they were able to obtain a 95% similarity “in both the shape of internal structures and the gene expression patterns of different cell types,” the researchers said.
The goal is to possibly grow new body parts from the embryos for implantation in humans: “Instead of developing a different protocol for growing each cell type — for example, those of the kidney or liver — we may one day be able to create a synthetic embryo-like model and then isolate the cells we need. We won’t need to dictate to the emerging organs how they must develop. The embryo itself does this best.”