Artificial Embryo Produced From Stem Cells of Mice

Scientists use mouse stem cells to produce an artificial embryo.

A team of international researchers used mouse stem cells to produce artificial embryo-like structures capable of 'gastrulation'. This is a step forward in the life of any embryo. At Cambridge University, the team led by Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz led a much simpler structure that resembled a mouse embryo in culture, using two types of stem cells (the main cells of the body) and a 3-D structure that they can grow on.

Nature In a study published today in Cell Biology, Professor Zernicka-Goetz and colleagues further developed embryonic-like structures, not just two, allowing for a process known as gastrulation, which is a fundamental step in which embryonic cells self-organize into the correct structure to form an embryo they used exactly three types of stem cells.


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After a mammalian egg is fertilized by a sperm, it is divided several times to form a small free-floating ball containing three types of stem cells. In the developmental phase, as the 'blastocyst' stage, the future body, in particular embryonic stem cells (ESCs), emerged as a clustering stem cell clustered in an embryo. The other two stem cell types in the blastocyst were extra embryonic trophoblast stem cells (TSCs) that would form placentas and primitive endoderm stem cells (PESCs) that would form the egg line, providing the fetal organs proper growth and necessary nutrients. That is, the formation of a human embryo was literally realized artificially.


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By adding PESCs, the team succeeded in seeing that their 'embryos' were miraculous and that all the animals were organized into three layers of body that they possessed. The timing of gene activity, architecture and patterns reflected natural embryo development. Professor Zernicka-Goetz, "Our artificial embryos spend the most important aspect of life in the culture layer, they are now very close to the real embryos, and they will have to implant them in the body of their mother or artificial placenta to further develop. Now we can try applying them to equivalent human stem cell types we can try to use natural human embryos by studying the oldest events in the development of the human embryo. "


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By implementing these studies, it will be possible to learn a lot about the basic aspects of mammalian development. In fact, such comparisons are restricted to scientists only studying without using 14-day human embryos because the UK law allows embryos to be studied in the laboratory only in this process. Thanks to this new invention, all phases that can not be seen within 14 days will be detected.