The so-called model embryo was created using stem cells and resembles a real 14-day-old human embryo so much that it secretes hormones that produce a positive pregnancy test result, according to Weizmann Institute researchers.
The research on the model embryo, which is not legally considered a true embryo, is intended to give researchers an ethically acceptable way to look more closely at the dramatic development that takes place in the first weeks after fertilization of an egg by an ovum. Sperm.
It is an area about which little research is known, according to Professor Jacob Hanna at the institute.
– It’s really like a black box. “Our knowledge is very limited,” Hanna told the BBC.
The results have been published in the scientific journal Nature. According to the research team, this is the first time anyone has succeeded in growing a functioning embryo model in this way.
The hope is, among other things, to provide answers to how different cells develop and to help understand genetically inherited diseases. From a longer perspective, it is hoped that we can use the research to improve chances of IVF and in vitro fertilization.
Embryo research is controversial, and 14 days is considered in many countries to be the upper limit for researchers, for ethical reasons, to grow normal embryos in a laboratory setting. The same limitations do not apply to embryo models.