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Scientists have created synthetic mouse embryos with developed brains


The findings, described in a paper in Nature could help scientists learn more about how human embryos develop and provide insights into disease, as well as provide an alternative to animals for testing, say researchers. research.

The new prototype embryos, which eliminate the need for sperm or egg cells, were developed in the lab alongside natural mouse embryos. They reflect the same developmental stages eight and a half days after fertilization, developing the beating heart and other organs of the body, including the neural tubes that eventually transform into the brain and spinal cord.

“I think it’s a big step forward,” said Leonardo Beccari from the Severo Ochoa Center for Molecular Biology, in Madrid, who was not involved in the study.

Studying how mouse stem cells interact at this point in development could also provide valuable insight into why human pregnancies fail in the early stages. and how to prevent that from happening.

“This is really the first demonstration of the forebrain in any model of embryonic development, and it’s really the first demonstration of the forebrain in any model of embryonic development,” said David Glover, a research professor of biology and bioengineering at Caltech and co-author of the report. It’s a holy grail for the field.

Stem cells can develop into specialized cells, including muscle, brain, or blood cells. The synthetic embryo was created from three types of cells from mice: embryonic stem cells, which make up the body; trophoblastic stem cells that develop into the placenta; and endodermal stem cells, which help form the egg sac.

The embryos were grown in an artificial incubator created by Jacob Hanna of the Weizmann Institute in Israel, who recently kept realistic mouse embryo They grow in a mechanical uterus for several days until they develop a beating heart, bleeding, and skull folds. Hanna is also a co-author of the new study.

By mimicking the natural processes of how mouse embryos would form inside the uterus, the researchers were able to instruct the cells to interact with each other, causing them to self-organize into structures that progress through cells. stage of development to the point where they have pulsated. the heart and the foundation for the whole brain.



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