From stem cells created embryos for human cloning

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Regardless, Group Head at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences and Honorary Clinical Lecturer at Imperial College London Harry Leith told the BBC the study is "the most successful attempt so far at building an early embryo from stem cell lines".

"This is a pity for basic research because it would be very useful to have a limitless supply of human blastocyst-like stage embryos to understand the relevant cell-cell interactions required to make normal embryos and to study mechanisms of implantation". This was done using just two types of mouse stem cells, and the resulting mass of cells resembled what you'd expect from the more traditional baby-forming process. Rivron said that although he will create and study mouse embryos using this method, he will not create human embryos.

Rivron insists his research simply "helps to understand the ideal path an early embryo must take for a healthy development".

The researchers also hoped their work would assist with fertility treatments.

The main use for the embryos would be for drug testing and research into infertility. "You would need typically huge numbers of embryos in order to test medicines in the proper way".

According to Rivron, the team even managed to implant the artificial embryos in a mouse uterus. This is ethically very questionable.

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"We pulled them together and discovered a cocktail of molecules that triggered them to self-organize into early embryo cells", Rivron said. This is a fascinating question. The inner cells are the beginnings of the embryo itself, while the outer shell will become the placenta.

'The whole organism includes the baby, and the extra tissues - the placenta and the yolk sac.

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge of the Francis Crick Institute added while the experiment was a huge breakthrough for modern science, it may come as a relief it can not be replicated in humans yet.

Professor Rivron said it was "extremely unlikely" the technology could be used by a rogue state to create an army of clones - as they would not have the scientific expertise to do so.

"For the first time, we can study these phenomena in great detail and run drug screens to find medicines that could prevent infertility, find better contraceptives, or limit the appearance of epigenetic marks that appear in the blastocyst and lead to diseases during adult life", said Rivron, adding that lab animals do not have to be used when studying these processes.

He said: 'It may come as a relief to others that such a method of producing many genetically identical human embryo-like structures that might be capable of implantation is not feasible - even if it would be illegal to implant them into women, as is clearly the situation in the United Kingdom'.

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