A new stem cell study has shed light on multiple aspects of life starting from when a cell starts dividing after fertilization to the formation of organisms. A recent study by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and at the Salk Institute has developed cultured blastoids to this end. Understanding their behavior could help researchers understand the signs of early developmental defects. Developed using adult mouse cells, this stem cell can help get insights into pregnancy issues and infertility. It can even show early signs of health problems in offspring. More broadly, the new study is likely to pave way to research that can unravel several mysteries regarding natural developmental process.
Scientists earlier have faced problems experimenting with natural blastocysts. The key bottleneck is their production in low numbers, since they are obtained from animals majorly mice. To circumvent this, researchers developed blastocyst-like structures they call blastoides. The researchers made these blastoides to undergo chemical reaction that turned them into induced pluripotent stem cells. These stem cells are source to wide range of tissues in the body. The blastoides they developed were similar to natural blastocysts in numerous ways—they closely mimicked gene signature and size.
Gene Editing Tools on Blastoids Model Lay Bare Incredible Possibilities to Understand Life
The researchers opined that these the stem cells that they have developed can be used as post-implantation embryos. In the near future, they plan to harness gene-editing tools that can affect the genetic process in three primordial cell types. The team contended that such studies on their model blastoids will lay bare incredible possibilities. An example is for the testing of therapies and drugs. Another potential the model shows is advancing research into organ transplantation. To accomplish, further studies are need that will focus on improving the functional aspect of the stem cell.