Scientists have created a model of human embryos from skin cells, which is hailed as a breakthrough in the study of infertility, but also raises serious ethical questions.
An international team led by researchers from Monash University in Melbourne was able to Reprogramming skin cells into three-dimensional structures that resemble the early stages of human embryos.
Lead researcher Jose Polo said the development would help research that previously required an embryo made from egg and sperm.
« It will be us allow us to study the early days of human development without using human embryos, and it will allow us to study many cases of infertility and, for example, why many miscarriages occur within the first two weeks of pregnancy, « he said / p> The director of the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, John Carroll, said it was after years of experiment ntierens come.
« They had that kind of Eureka moment when they looked at the microscope and discovered that they had formed these little embryo-like structures, » said Professor Carroll.
« Worldwide this is going to be one be big news in the whole research world. There is great interest in making this breakthrough. «
Professor Carroll acknowledged that science raises some important ethical questions, but said it was important to emphasize that the embryo model cannot be considered viable .
« It is a question that needs to be investigated, but this is really an in vitro model. It doesn’t really develop beyond day 10 or 11 of normal lab development, « he said.
» I think it gives us that path to medical advancement, and you know there are strong, strong globally applied ethical frameworks and regulations, laws that really prevent anything from going too far with human material. «
Jason Limnios, a postdoctoral fellow at the Clem Jones Center for Regenerative Medicine at Bond University, who was not part of the research team, said The development took the scientists by surprise.
« They take cells that have previously become something and bring them back to the beginning of life. At this point, they can form the same cellular structures that exist in the embryo itself, « he said.
» Scientists didn’t expect that there would be the right information to do this so well. «
Dr Limnios anticipated further discussions on the legal and ethical status of the model embryos created by the Monash University team.
« These structures have yet to be defined in terms of their legal status, they fit into a gray area, but by default they become automatic considered actual embryos so the laws will catch up with them and there will be rules about how they work. « Can be used. »
« Ethically, it’s a sensitive issue and we as stem cell biologists appreciate that, but most importantly, people should understand that they are not real embryos, and even if they were implanted in a woman, they would not have a baby. «
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) said the Monash University team followed the rules for research on human embryos.
The NHMRC said research on early human embryo development is limited to the use of so-called « Excess » embryos created using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) that included all fertility treatments.
Under the Prohibited Human Cloning for Reproduction Act, researchers are allowed to develop a human embryo outside a woman’s body no longer than 14 days.
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