Science. A recent scientific feat carried out with fake mouse embryos could eventually make it possible to cure certain diseases in humans. But this raises some ethical questions.
A historic discovery
From time to time, we deal with certain scientific subjects when the facts are significant enough to be raised. Several months ago, we told you about the largest bacterium in the world ever analyzed, The “Thiomargarita magnifica“, a string-like nucleus-less bacterium discovered in Guadeloupe.
Today, and for the first time, researchers have created mouse embryos without using egg or sperm and watched them grow outside the womb. A real breakthrough in our understanding of how embryos develop.
after only eight days of culturing
Thus, these embryos were created solely from stem cells taken from the skin. This discovery is credited to the Weizmann Institute of Sciencein Israel, and in particular Jacob Hanna, embryonic stem cell biologist
This feat was published in the journal Cell, at the heart of a scientific article that explains how the researchers achieved their feat. We note for example that the embryos were formed after only eight days of culturing stem cells. In order to guarantee this, a special incubator system (in an attempt to mimic the functioning of a womb) was used, in which each embryo was placed in a bottle with a special liquid providing them with all the nutrients, hormones and sugars they need to develop.
Towards a breakthrough in therapy and transplantation
This discovery could, in the future, turn out to be very useful for therapeutic medicine. The researchers say that eventually the technique could one day be used to develop artificial structures resembling human embryos, in order to generate cells for therapeutic purposes, but also to solve infertility problems, genetic diseases and problems related to old age.
The idea is also to succeed in the near future in cultivate organs dedicated to transplantation, via the artificial uterus, serving as an incubator.
Our next challenge is to understand how stem cells know what to do, how they self-assemble into organs and find their way to their assigned locations inside an embryo,” summarizes the researcher.
However, all this is not without raising certain controversies. The use of human embryo clones for research causes ethical problems, particularly within the scientific community. Everything is therefore not recorded for the future, it will take time before this technique is accepted by the whole community.
Source: Hitek : actualité geek et tests high tech by hitek.fr.
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