Emerging Technologies 2020 – Artificial Embryos
Scientists have started designing embryos from stem cells
What? Without having to resort to ovules or sperm, researchers have created embryo-like structures from stem cells, an advance that offers a new way to create life. With used lab equipment and other necessary tools, researchers are on the verge of designing embryos from stem cells.
Why? Artificial embryos will facilitate the study of the mysterious beginnings of human life, something that is not exempt from strong bioethical debates.
Who? The University of Cambridge, University of Michigan, Rockefeller University
In an advance that redefines the mechanisms to create life, embryologists at the University of Cambridge (UK) have developed realistic-looking mouse embryos from stem cells. Without ovum or sperm; only with cells extracted from another embryo (see Synthetic Gametes: the reproduction that would allow having children without taking into account the age or sex ).
The researchers carefully placed the cells on a three-dimensional scaffold and observed, fascinated, how they began to communicate and line up to give rise to the characteristic bullet shape of a multi-day-old mouse embryo.
In an interview, the head of the team, Magdelena Zernicka-Goetz, said: “We know that stem cells are magical because of their powerful potential for what they can do, but we did not know that they could authorize themselves in such a beautiful and perfect way .”
Zernicka-Goetz explains that “synthetic” embryos probably could not have turned into mice. However, they are a clue that we could soon have mammals born without the need to have an egg.
This is not the goal of Zernicka-Goetz. She wants to study how the cells of an early embryo begin to assume their specialized functions. And she explains that the next step will be to create an artificial embryo from human stem cells; work that is being carried out at the University of Michigan and Rockefeller University (both in the US).
Synthetic human embryos would be a blessing for scientists since they would allow them to unravel the events that take place at the beginning of development. And since such embryos start with easily manipulated stem cells, laboratories will have many tools, such as genetic editing, to investigate them as they grow.
However, artificial embryos raise ethical questions. What if they can not be distinguished from a real embryo? How long can they grow in the laboratory before they feel pain? Bioethics experts say we need to address these questions before science goes further.
The global market size of preclinical CRO increased than previous in the USA, preclinical CRO Market Analysis and Bio Analysis & Toxicology Testing and other preclinical services continuously rising from 2015 to 2025 in USA.
Is It Worth It?
Although the topic of designing artificial embryos can raise eyebrows and is still a very debatable topic among conservatives, this innovation can provide countless benefits, namely:
Cure Genetic Diseases
Unlike a mother carrying an unborn child in their stomach, artificial embryos will no longer rely on the genes of a person to develop. This means that roots can develop even without a person who will serve as their “mothers.” Because of this, the embryo will have better chances of living a healthy life as they do not share the same genes with another person.
Gene editing can be one of the most significant breakthroughs that can cure genetic diseases, allowing more and more people to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
Deal Very Complex Diseases
Complex diseases, such as schizophrenia, don’t happen because of one abnormal or damaged gene; this health condition is a result of various problems in a person’s genes. Treating this health problem can be very challenging because solutions should be diverse to treat a wide variety of symptoms.
The technology behind artificial embryos will allow medical experts to easily find a cure to these health problems as they can have the liberty to choose which properties of the embryo they should edit. Through artificial embryos, people can live a healthy life that’s free from schizophrenia and even heart disease.
Delaying Or Stopping Aging
Aside from improving the quality of the people’s health, are you aware that artificial embryos can also help people delay or stop the effects of aging? This works because gene editing can delay or arrest the effects of aging on the human body. Through this technology, people can minimize fine lines and wrinkles on their faces, as well as reduce their risks to health-related diseases such as memory loss and impotence.
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