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Scientists create mouse embryo with a beating heart from stem cells

Date: 30.6.2021 

An extraordinary new study has detailed the development of a nearly complete mouse embryo – with muscles, blood vessels and a tiny beating heart – grown in a lab dish out of stem cells.

Kredit: UVA.The research presents the most sophisticated “embryo in a dish” created to date, offering essential new innovations on the road to growing replacement human organs in a lab. The new research comes out of the Thisse Lab at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Led by Christine and Bernard Thisse, the scientists have been working for years to find a way to build functional embryos out of stem cells.

Creating an embryo in a lab dish out of stem cells is obviously not a simple process. Several different types of stem cells are needed, and then directing those cells to develop into the correct organized structure at the right moments has proved challenging.

Over the past few years the Thisse lab has overcome several hurdles, initially creating zebrafish embryos before moving onto more complex mammals. Christine Thisse explains her team’s breakthrough presents the first mammalian embryo of this complexity ever built solely from stem cells.

So far the research has not progressed to the point of producing a fully mature mouse embryo. In this study embryonic development halted at a stage equivalent to the middle phase of gestation. Bernard Thisse says although development of certain brain regions is still a hurdle to be overcome they are confident of soon being able to generate complete “embryo-like entities.”





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