- Scientists have grown and observed human embryos for 2 weeks, gaining new insights on what the researchers would describe as “the most enigmatic and mysterious stage of human development”
- Scientists have surpassed the previous record of 7 days of growing a human embryo outside of a womb before implantation into a womb for its survival and further development
- The latest breakthrough, although may help improve in-vitro fertilization treatments and regenerative medicine, raises ethical issues with a limit ban on developing human embryos in a lab currently in place
For the first time, scientists have grown human embryos for 2 weeks outside of a mother and entirely in a lab. In their splendid scientific achievement, the researchers found new and exciting insights about human embryonic development.
In previous studies, human embryos have only been studied as a culture in a lab dish for until the 7th day of development and then implanted into the mother’s womb for the embryo to survive and further develop. This new research marks the first time the human embryos have been grown in-vitro past this stage, Tech Times wrote.
“Implantation is a milestone in human development as it is from this stage onwards that the embryo really begins to take shape and the overall body plan are [sic] decided. It is also the stage of pregnancy at which many developmental defects can become acquired. But until now, it has been impossible to study this in human embryos,” said Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, a professor in the University of Cambridge who co-led the research.
This latest breakthrough in science sparks new debates on the ethical implications of human engineering. According to the researchers, new information gathered from this study should help improve in-vitro fertilization treatments and progress in regenerative medicine.
But the research raises an ethical issue of an international law banning the development of human embryos beyond 14 days, it suggests to revisit the current limit put in place, Reuters wrote.
“Longer cultures could provide absolutely critical information for basic human biology, but this would of course raise the next question – of where we should put the next limit.” Zernicka-Goetz told the press.
Sarah Norcross, the Director of the Progress Educational Trust, a charity which campaigns for people affected by infertility and genetic conditions, said “a public discussion of the rights and wrongs of this would need to follow before any change in law could be contemplated.”