Scientists create human ‘pre-embryo’ for research

“These are structures organized in the shape of an embryo on the model of the human embryo, but in my opinion, I do not consider them the equivalent of a human blastocyst from an in vitro fertilization clinic”, said Amander Clark, a member of Polo’s team and chair in molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Polo’s team created their blastoids by reprogramming human skin cells, altering their cellular identity to form a set of mixed cells similar to those found inside an early human embryo.

They put the cells together in a 3-D “jelly” scaffold and found that the cells began to interact and organize into a round structure similar to a human blastocyst. They call their discovery induced blastoids, or iBlastoids.

Wu’s team did it differently, using stem cells derived from adults to generate blastocyst-like structures.

Both reports were published on March 17 in the journalNature.

Both studies “are an exciting step forward,” said Peter Rugg-Gunn, group leader for genetic research at the Babraham Institute in the UK.

“The work highlights the remarkable ability of cells to self-organize into complex structures,” said Rugg-Gunn. “Impressively, even in these early experiments, defined substructures are formed that appear to mimic milestone events early in development, thus opening up this process to experimental observation and study. The research provides a new model. cell important for studying early human development, which could lead to a better understanding of infertility and early miscarriages. “

More information

The University of California at San Francisco has more on design process.

SOURCES: Jose Polo, PhD, professor, biology, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; Jun Wu, PhD, assistant professor, molecular biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Amander Clark, PhD, president, molecular, cellular and developmental biology, University of California, Los Angeles; Nature, March 17, 2021

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