Thursday, May 2, 2019

Embryo cells from skin cells

An article at ScienceDaily summarizes the findings of a research conducted at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU). With this study, researchers have found a way of transforming skin cells into the three major stem cell types that comprise early-stage embryos, (embryo, placenta and extra-embryonic tissue), using mouse cells. This was achieved by using retroviruses to insert a series of genes into the skin cells.
In a different article, the author notes that human skin cells have already been tested, and were successfully transformed using the same techniques used in mouse cells. Although successful, the technique with retroviruses could cause tumors in the tissue. The next step is finding a way of altering or switching genes existing in the cells, instead of inserting new copies.

Scientists say that in the future, it could be possible to create whole human embryos out of skin cells. The findings are significant since embryonic cells can be used to model and study embryonic diseases and placental dysfunctions as well as other complications without using "real embryos" or oocytes; therefore escaping some of the ethical debates that surround the field. With this I think that humans are getting closer to find a way of creating life without even the need of sex cells.  

4-cell stage mouse embryos


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  2. Fascinating article. Until recently, scientists had to extract the most versatile of stem cells from embryos. If this is the case that now stem cells can be created from skin cells, it is surely revolutionary in science. While I don't believe normally created human embryos will ever become obsolete, it is crazy to think that one day soon an embryo could be formed by means of these alternatively-derived stem cells.

  3. Great article! With so many people having to succumb to In Vitro fertilization this is would be a fantastic new option for people.