It’s fascinating to watch a baby grow in a mothers belly. But what happens when a baby stops spontaneously? From the beginning of time, we haven’t been able to understand why a baby detaches from a mother uterus walls in a lifeless group of cells.
In search of answers, a team of researchers from The University of Cambridge published a research this past Monday stating they’d achieved a breakthrough in stem cell research. A key life event of developing embryonic stem cells have never been witnessed before, until now.
The scientists simulate a process called gastrulation, demonstrating the ability of three stem cell types to self-assemble in vitro(in glass). With this indication, it’s proof that the first events that create life can happen outside a womb. Although we’re not quite at the point to say we can create stable life outside the body; it’s definitely a snapshot of something manifesting creation. The scientist started conducting these studies with stem cells of a mouse, but it may be safe to assume that human tests are coming soon.
The team has essentially made the building blocks to potentially create life from three stem cells.
Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, who was the research team leader, says:
Our artificial embryos underwent the most important event in life in the culture dish. They are now extremely close to real embryos. To develop further, they would have to implant into the body of the mother or an artificial placenta.
Of course, the goal isn’t to create mice on demand. Scientists hope to gain insights into early life development which could lead to an immense understanding of what happens during a miscarriage in a woman’s pregnancy and what weights the risk factors.
Professor Zernicka-Goetz believes mice to men can scale very easily:
We can also now try to apply this to the equivalent human stem cell types and so study the very earliest events in human embryo development without actually having to use natural human embryos.
The early stages of embryo development are when a large proportion of pregnancies are lost and yet it is a stage that we know very little about. Now we have a way of simulating embryonic development in the culture dish, so it should be possible to understand exactly what is going on during this remarkable period in an embryo’s life, and why sometimes this process fails.
To think about it from a purely scientific point of view, it all sounds amazing. But could this open up another can of worms? Would the development of artificial human fetuses solve the problem of miscarriages or even the end of childhood developmental disorders such as juvenile disease? Surely the ethical side of whether it seems right to create life this way is a question or just a deeper understanding of the earliest moments in human development.
What if a fetus that’s been developed from a frozen sperm and egg combo live in our society?
Let us know what you think in the comments section below.