A team of scientists at the University of Cambridge has developed an artificial mouse embryo-like structure capable of forming the three major axes of the body. The technique, reported today in the journal Nature, could reduce the use of mammalian embryos in research.
The creation of artificial embryos has moved a step forward after an international team of researchers used mouse stem cells to produce artificial embryo-like structures capable of ‘gastrulation’, a key step in the life of any embryo.
Researchers have used genome editing technology to reveal the role of a key gene in human embryos in the first few days of development. This is the first time that genome editing has been used to study gene function in human embryos, which could help scientists to better understand the biology of our early development.
How difficult is it to conceive? According to a widely-held view, fewer than one in three embryos make it to term, but a new study from a researcher at the University of Cambridge suggests that human embryos are not as susceptible to dying in the first weeks after fertilisation as often claimed.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge have managed to create a structure resembling a mouse embryo in culture, using two types of stem cells – the body’s ‘master cells’ – and a 3D scaffold on which they can grow.
Cambridge research that will enable scientists to grow and study embryos in the lab for almost two weeks has been named as the People’s Choice for Science magazine’s ‘Breakthrough of the Year 2016’
In the first genome-scale experiment of its kind, researchers have gained new insights into how a mouse embryo first begins to transform from a ball of unfocussed cells into a small, structured entity. Published in Nature, the single-cell genomics study was led by the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the University of Cambridge.
A new technique that allows embryos to develop in vitro beyond the implantation stage (when the embryo would normally implant into the womb) has been developed by scientists at the University of Cambridge allowing them to analyse for the first time key stages of human embryo development up to 13 days after fertilisation. The technique could open up new avenues of research aimed at helping improve the chances of success of IVF.
Genetic ‘signatures’ of early-stage embryos confirm that our development begins to take shape as early as the second day after conception, when we are a mere four cells in size, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge and EMBL-EBI. Although they seem to be identical, the cells of the two day-old embryo are already beginning to display subtle differences.
Azim Surani (Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute) discusses gene editing of the human germline.