" Scientists have invented a device that can quickly produce large numbers of living entities that resemble very primitive human embryos.
Researchers welcomed the development, described Wednesday in the journal Nature , as an important advance for studying the earliest days of human embryonic development. But it also raises questions about where to draw the line in manufacturing “synthetic” human life.
Other scientists have previously created synthetic embryos, which are also known as embryoids. These entities are made by coaxing human stem cells to form structures found in very early human embryos. The research has raised questions about how similar to complete embryos they could and should be allowed to become.
The rapid advances in embryoid creation have prompted the International Society for Stem Cell Research to launch a review of its guidelines.
“If these embryo models end up being complete and are built to have all the components of natural embryos, they should be subject to the same 14-day rule that limits research with natural human embryos,” Hyun says. “That’s one more reason to avoid modeling the whole thing at once.”"
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