Cloning technology continues to improve with constant groundbreaking experiments. However, in the most impressive cloning experiment yet, scientists have created the worlds first synergetic embryos on Earth.
Creating the World’s First Synthetic Embryos
Created by Scientists at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, the first synthetic embryos were created from mice stem cells. The team discovered that mice stem cells could be made to self-assemble without any help.
This means that these embryos are created without the use of traditional sex biology. No sperm, eggs or other bodily functions. Despite this, the embryos were able to start growing, forming intestines, beating hearts and the start of brains.
“Remarkably, we show that embryonic stem cells generate whole synthetic embryos, meaning this includes the placenta and yolk sac surrounding the embryo. We are truly excited about this work and its implications,” said team lead Prof Jacob Hanna.
While there’s currently a high failure rate with these synthetic embryos, those that do grow are scientifically identical. In comparison to their natural counterparts, the scientific embryos were 95% identical. Both the internal structure and genetic profiles of the cells were mostly the same as the original.
Currently, none of the embryos have survived to become live animals. Upon transplantation into animal wombs, the synthetic mice embryos did not survive. However, it’s still early days for the technology.
Synthetic Human Embryos are next.
The creation of these lab embryos has led to ideas surrounding human embryos. Prof Jacob Hanna has expressed a wish to create synthetic human embryos for his new company Synthetic Bio. These embryos would be used for healthcare purposes.
Hanna explained that these human embryos could be used to provide tissues and cells for healing living humans. Furthermore, it’s entirely legal. They said:
“In Israel and many other countries, such as the US and the UK, it is legal and we have ethical approval to do this with human-induced pluripotent stem cells. This is providing an ethical and technical alternative to the use of embryos.”
The use of human embryos in this manner will always be controversial. After all, modern abortion laws would likely protect those embryos more than actual living children. Nevertheless, it still has the potential to save lives.