New embryo models offer hope for research on miscarriages, birth defects | Malay Mail

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HOUSTON, March 19 ― Scientists have generated early-stage human embryo models that could help shed light on the “black box” of initial human development stages and improve research on pregnancy loss and birth defects. Two separate teams found different ways to produce versions of a blastocyst...

Friday, 19 Mar 2021 08:17 AM MYT

The scientists make clear that the models differ from human blastocysts and are not capable of developing into embryos. But their work comes as new ethical guidelines on such research are being drafted and could spark fresh debate., believe the models dubbed “blastoids” will aid research on everything from miscarriages to the effects of toxins and drugs on early-stage embryos.

At the moment, research on the earliest days of embryonic development relies on donated blastocysts from IVF treatment.So being able to generate unlimited models could be a game changer, said Jose Polo, a professor at Australia's Monash University, who led the second research team. Polo's team instead started with adult skin cells, but both teams ended up with effectively the same result: the cells began to organise themselves into blastoids, featuring the three key components seen in a human blastocyst.

Both teams' blastoids ended up containing cells of unknown types, and they lack some elements that come specifically from the interaction between a sperm and an egg. “To capitalise on the discovery, the process will need to be more controlled and less variable,” he said.

 

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