An ‘artificial’ embryo with a brain and a beating heart

An 'artificial' embryo with a brain and a beating heart

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed model embryos from mouse stem cells that lay the foundation for the brain, beating heart and all other organs in the body. A new study by scientists offers a new way to recreate the earliest stages of life.

The research team led by Professor Magdalena Cernica Goetz developed the embryo model using stem cells without eggs or sperm. Stem cells, the main cells in the body, can develop and change into almost every cell type in the body.

Stem cells self-organize and transform

According to an article in Popular Science Turkey By leading three types of stem cells found in early mammalian development to the point where they begin to interact, the researchers mimicked natural processes in the lab. By promoting the expression of a specific set of genes and creating a unique environment for their interaction, they were able to ‘talk’ the stem cells to each other.

Stem cells organize themselves and become advanced structures through successive stages of growth up to the egg sac, from which the embryo develops and receives nutrients in the first weeks, as well as the basis of beating hearts and brains. These models, developed in Cambridge, unlike other artificial embryos, have reached the stage where the entire brain, including the forebrain, begins to develop. The study reached this stage of development ahead of any other model derived from stem cells.

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