Circumventing the injection of an egg with sperm, Weizmann Institute of Science geneticists have accomplished a breakthrough – creating synthetic mouse embryos with beating hearts and brains outside the uterus using stem cells taken from skin and cultured in a dish.
“The embryo is the best organ-making machine and the best 3D bioprinter; we tried to emulate what it does,” noted research team head Prof. Jacob Hanna of the Molecular Genetics Department in the Rehovot institute.
Scientists already know how to restore mature cells to “stem-ness” – pioneers of this cellular reprogramming won a Nobel Prize in 2012. But going in the opposite direction – that is, causing stem cells to differentiate into specialized body cells, not to mention form entire organs – has proved much more problematic. Source: Jerusalem Post