The entirely lab-grown synthetic mice were grown in an artificial womb for eight days and developed “rudimentary beating hearts, blood circulation, folded brain tissue and intestinal tracts,” reveals a Washington Post report.
The report amplifies a new research paper that explains how stem cell researchers in Israel managed to create synthetic mouse embryos, without using a sperm or egg.
As the Washington Post highlights, research in this field, which could one day result in a complete human synthetic embryo, was traditionally very limited.
The International Society for Stem Cell Research had a rule in place that said that researchers could only grow natural embryos for only 14 days in the lab but that rule was relaxed, allowing for longer studies to take place.
As for this research, while it sounds amazing, it’s still a long way from actually growing a mouse in a lab entirely, outside the womb.
“The research, published Monday in the journal Cell, is far from growing a mouse, much less a human, outside the womb.
It was a proof of concept that a complete synthetic embryo could be assembled from embryonic stem cells, and while the researchers were successful, it was a highly error-prone process, with only a small fraction of embryos going on to develop the beginnings of a beating heart and other organs.
Although the synthetic mouse embryos bore a close resemblance to natural mouse embryos, they were not exactly the same and did not implant or result in pregnancies in real mice, according to Jacob Hanna, the stem cell scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science who led the work,” reports WaPo.
You can read the study here.