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Scientists Successfully Develop Synthetic Embryos Raising Ethical Questions

Israeli researchers succeeded in creating synthetic mouse embryos from stem cells in a lab and managed to keep it alive for eight days. This scientific breakthrough is a cause of concern for many as you will come to understand in the later part of this article.

First, how did they do it? As reported by Gadgets 360, the artificial womb used to hold the samples was first made in 2021 and the team grew natural mouse embryos in it from sperm and eggs. It had lived for 11 days but set the tune for the even more remarkable achievement we are reporting.

Unlike several sci-fi movies, the womb in the lab is more of a rotating device that is filled with nutrients from glass bottles and able to mimic a real uterus, down to blood and nutrients flow to the placenta and the atmospheric pressure.

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With chemicals, the cells developed into placenta or yolk sac, and some developed into organs and other tissues. A small per cent of them, 0.5%, managed to grow into natural embryos that would have been eight-days-old. They had hearts, basic nervous systems, and yolk-sacs.

What comes to mind after hearing of a lab-made womb is if similar things can be built for mothers to make child bearing easier and safer. Thus comes the ethical conundrum, how far is too far? Also, while artificially carrying a baby could be safer, it could also raise new debates on choices of having children or not.

Scientists believe that we are still a long way from seeing this developments applied to humans, but, it could happen someday.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.