National Public Radio
Scientists have created living entities that resemble very primitive human embryos, the most advanced example of these structures yet created in a lab.
The researchers hope these creations, made from human embryonic stem cells, will provide crucial new insights into human development and lead to new ways to treat infertility and prevent miscarriages, birth defects and many diseases. The researchers say this is the first timescientists have created living models of human embryos with three-dimensional structures.
The researchers reported their findings Monday in a paper published in the journal Nature Cell Biology.
But the research is stirring debate about how far scientists should go in creating living models of human embryos, sometimes called embryoids. . . [Full text]
Shots. Health News from NPR
Ali Brivanlou slides open a glass door at the Rockefeller University in New York to show off his latest experiments probing the mysteries of the human embryo.
“As you can see, all my lab is glass — just to make sure there is nothing that happens in some dark rooms that gives people some weird ideas,” says Brivanlou, perhaps only half joking.
Brivanlou knows that some of his research makes some people uncomfortable. That’s one reason he has agreed to give me a look at what’s going on.
His lab and one other discovered how to keep human embryos alive in lab dishes longer than ever before — at least 14 days. That has triggered an international debate about a long-standing convention (one that’s legally binding in some countries, though not in the U.S.) that prohibits studying human embryos that have developed beyond the two-week stage. . . . [Full text]