Australian researchers are the first to create embryos from skin cells
Scientists created a human embryo without a sperm or egg – the first time this was done.
An international team led by researchers from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, successfully grown early human embryos from the skin cells of an adult arm.
“It will allow us to study the early days of human development without using human embryos and it will allow us to study many cases of infertility and, for example, why many miscarriages occur within the first two weeks of pregnancy,” so the lead researcher Jose Polo told Australia’s ABC.
When placed in a bowl, the model embryos, called iBlastoids, attached – just like embryos in the uterus – and began to develop, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
IVF experts are likely among those most likely to want to learn more about the discovery.
Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute director John Carroll told ABC it had come after years of experimentation.
“They had that kind of Eureka moment when they looked at the microscope and discovered that they had formed these little embryo-like-looking structures,” said Professor Carroll.
However, the discovery has also raised important ethical questions about cloning and human genetic engineering.
“I don’t know how religious leaders will take that, to be honest,” said Polo.
The embryos are destroyed after 11 days and cannot develop into a fetus.
“We have to have the discussion. How far can we use these models to model biology? “
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