Lab-grown human embryo-like structures bring hope for research into early-pregnancy complications
Bangkok — Scientists have developed human embryo-like structures without using sperm, an egg or fertilization, offering hope for research on miscarriage and birth defects but also raising fresh ethical concerns.
Earlier this year, several labs around the world released pre-print studies that had not been peer-reviewed, describing their development of early human embryo-like structures. Now one group's research has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, describing how they coaxed human embryonic stem cells to self-organize into a model resembling an early embryo.
The research was welcomed by some scientists as an "impressive" advance that could help unlock secrets about the precarious early stages of pregnancies, when failure is most common.
Dr Jacob Hanna, a specialist in molecular genetics at Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science, holds a vial containing five-day-old synthetic mouse embryos grown in an electronically controlled ex-utero roller culture platform, in a lab in the Israeli central city of Rehovot, August 4, 2022. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty