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Lab-grown human embryo models

 

Source: Nature

  

Context: Recently, scientists have successfully created advanced embryo-like structures using human stem cells. These synthetic embryos develop similarly to natural embryos at around 14 days after fertilization.

  • This breakthrough allows researchers unprecedented opportunities to study human embryonic development at later stages. However, it also raises ethical and legal questions regarding the regulation and status of these “embryo models.”
  • The ability to study embryo models beyond 14 days is significant because it allows researchers to explore developmental defects and pregnancy loss, which are challenging to study using animal models.

 

Controversy:

  • The scientific controversy surrounding this research arises from the highly competitive race to develop embryo models at later stages.
  • Ethical concerns have also emerged regarding the status and regulation of human embryo models. While these models are not subject to the 14-day rule applied to natural embryos, guidelines and regulations related to the use of human embryonic stem cells must be followed.