A team of Australian researchers reprogrammed skin cells and turned them into a life-like replica of an early human embryo.
The 3D models are called iBlastoids, because they are analogues of blastocysts – the scientific name for the cell bundle that develops to form an embryo.
The models are expected to allow researchers to study the first stage of human development in more detail, and hopefully, to find treatments for some forms of infertility and miscarriages.
IBlastoids were cultured for 11 days, in line with current legislation which states that human blastocysts cannot be cultured for longer than 14 days for ethical reasons.
The researchers hope that being able to study this genetic window in more detail could lead to breakthroughs in fertility, fetal viability and IVF.
The typical blastocyst was not previously successful. Before now, the only way to study embryonic development was from the surplus embryos produced by IVF.
Professor José Polo, co-author of the study, said: “iBlastoids will allow scientists to study very early steps in human development, some causes of infertility and congenital diseases, and the effect of toxins and viruses on early embryos – without using the human polycyst, and most importantly, on an unprecedented scale, to develop new therapies.” , According to the “Russia Today” website.
A technique called “nuclear reprogramming” was used to convert skin cells into embryo-like cells, and then they were assembled around a three-dimensional scaffold.
“We are really surprised that skin cells can be reprogrammed into these three-dimensional cellular structures that resemble a blastocyst,” said co-author and doctoral student, Jia Ping Tan.
Source: Al Ittihad – Abu Dhabi
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