The stem cell researchers at the Weitzman Institute of Science in Israel created synthetic mice embryos without the use of sperm or eggs, which were raised in the artificial uterus to almost half of the entire pregnancy, and at this point the embryos have grown before the organs, including the beating heart. In the end, technology will be used to grow organs for transplantation.
A new study by Israeli scientists is based on two previous work by the group. The first work focused on reprogramming stem cells into a "naive" state that allows them to differentiate into others. The second experiment focused on the development of a device that will effectively grow embryos outside the uterus.
By combining these two methods, biologists have grown one of the most advanced synthetic embryos of mice to date, using the naive stem cells of mice that were cultivated in a petri dish a few years ago, divided into three groups that play a key role in the development of the embryo.
One group contained cells that would develop into embryo organs, the other two were treated by the control genes of extra-embryonic tissue — placenta for one group and yellow bag for the other; then three types of cells were mixed together in an artificial uterus that closely controlled pressure and oxygen exchange, as well as gently moving samples to simulate the natural flow of nutrients.
Once inside, three types of cells joined together to form structures like embryos. As expected, the vast majority died at this stage, and only 0.5 percent — or 50 out of about 10,000 — developed successfully.
A further study showed that the shape of the internal structures and the pathetic expression of the genes of synthetic embryos was natural to 95 per cent, and their organs also seemed functional.