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Scientists Use Stem Cells To Create Models Of Pre-Embryos

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This image, provided by the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, shows a human “blastoid” created in a lab. A new study in Nature on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, shows how scientists created this structure that mimics a blastocyst, a ball of cells that form within a week of fertilization, and can be used in research. (Photo by Alok Javali, Heidar Heidari and Theresa Sommer/Institute of Molecular Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences via AP)

(AP) – Scientists are using human stem cells to create a structure that mimics a pre-embryo and can serve as a research alternative to a real one. They’re called “blastoids.” Researchers say they provide an efficient, ethical way to study human development and pursue biomedical discoveries in fertility and contraception. The latest effort was detailed Thursday in the journal Nature. The structures aren’t embryos, but scientists nevertheless didn’t let them grow past two weeks in deference to longstanding ethical guidelines. Nicolas Rivron of the Austrian Academy of Sciences is one of the authors of the study. He says blastoids would complement human embryos used in research.

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