Synthetic Embryos: Is it Scientists Playing God?

Synthetic Embryos: Is it Scientists Playing God?

Sam Stone

A group of dutch scientists released a report of studies conducted with stem cells and mice, experiments that had yielded a “synthetic” embryo.

It is rather sensationalist, the headlines suggesting that now we have created life (they didn’t). Simply it was a oddity when they were experimenting with embryonic stem cells and trophoblast stem cells (these stem cells later form the placenta in pregnancies), a cocktail of the cells later yielding an embryo.

However, this embryo is not viable, they noted. They implanted these cells into mice as to track their growth.

Note that this is not the first case of scientists growing embryos from stem cells, but rather a first for figuring the cocktail of cells as well as actually implanting them in a uterus. A mouse uterus for this case study.

It is seen as a breakthrough for this reason: understanding early miscarriages. In reality, 2/3 of pregnancies will not make it to term. Many end before the woman can realize she is actually pregnant. Why this happens has always been a question. It is rather scientists know the statistics but not how to explain or counteract it.

This discovery allows study of why this happens, as now scientists can easily make embryos for experiments, in a world where embryos for studies are almost impossible to access, especially for those researching vivo fertilization, as well as extremely expensive.

It is seen as a revolution for studies in infertility, but can see it being useful across numerous fields in the future of its application. One can only wonder on how the discovery will affect science.