05 Sep Scientists Develop Mouse Embryo from Stem Cells, Including Brain and Beating Heart
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gianluca Amadei PhD
University of Cambridge, UK
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: The background of this study is that we tried to build a structure that looks and develops like a real mouse embryo using different kinds of mouse stem cells.
The main findings are that the resulting structures develop the entire embryonic body axis and the extraembryonic tissues that are required to support embryonic development. Our structures develop to a stage comparable to 8.5 days of embryonic development of the natural mouse embryos and have a brain and neural tube, a beating heart-like structure, gut and primordial germ cells.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: I think the key message is that stem cells have the potential to capture and reconstruct real embryos very closely. As we improve these structures more and more, we will be able to capture even more aspects of embryonic development. The end result is that we will be able to decrease our reliance on mouse animal models, perform experiments that are difficult to do using real mouse embryos and hopefully expedite the pace of research.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?
Response: Without a doubt, it is only a matter of time before a similar system is developed using human cells. It is important to have a serious ethical debate now, as a society, to define how we feel about these models and decide whether there should be guidelines and limitations imposed on this kind of research.
Amadei, G., Handford, C.E., Qiu, C. et al. Synthetic embryos complete gastrulation to neurulation and organogenesis. Nature (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05246-3
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