Last year, it was reported that scientists (or as the British like to call them, “Boffins”) created synthetic embryos complete with beating heart and functioning brain. Now, in an article recently published, a new breakthrough has produced the first “complete” embryo model:
“The latest breakthrough, published in the journal Nature, also used stem cells – and the team describes their results as the first ‘complete’ embryo model, one that mimics key cells and structures throughout the first two weeks of development.
“‘This is really a textbook image of a human day-14 embryo, [which] hasn’t been done before,’ said Professor Hanna.
“‘It closely mimics the development of a real human embryo, particularly the emergence of its exquisitely fine architecture.’
“The team used a cocktail of chemicals to ‘coax’ the stem cells into transforming into four key embryonic cells – epiblasts, trophoblasts, hypoblasts and extraembryonic mesoderm cells.”
What makes these “embryo models” different is that they are not legally embryos and not limited to the 14 days cut-off for embryo research.
“In many countries, 14 days is the legal cut-off for normal embryo research.
“However, these ’embryo models’ are not legally seen as embryos and are not governed by the same laws.
“The researchers said this approach could help reveal the causes of many birth defects and types of infertility.
“It could also lead to new ways of growing transplant organs as well as offer a way around experiments that cannot be performed on live embryos, the team added.”
Even though these are just models, the ability to get around these 14-day restriction and even grow fully functional organs means there is a legal pathway to the mass production of genetically engineered catgirls suitable for domestic adoption.
The researcher even addressed this “ethics” thing:
“Commenting on the study, Professor Alfonso Martinez Arias, from the department of experimental and health sciences at Pompeu Fabra University, Spain, said he expected the work to raise ethical issues but he added it was ‘a most important piece of research’.”
Yes, yes it is important.
A little mood music: