New Human Embryo Models Spark Needless Controversy

At an international stem cell conference this past June, researchers revealed nearly-synthetic models of human embryos made comprised of human stem cells. Scientists hope the models will help them understand human development 6 to 28 days after fertilization. The controversy comes at the suggestion the work could lead to the creation of human embryos that are actually alive, though that does not appear to be possible through this current method of creating these biological models.

New Human Embryo Models Spark Needless Controversy

While “artificial” in the sense that they are of bioengineered origin, stem-cell-generated embryo models could reveal important real-world truths about both assisted and unassisted reproduction, pregnancy failures and the causes of many developmental disorders. They offer a new model system for researchers to probe the mysteries of human development corresponding to when embryos become embedded in the uterus. This brief period of time, from six to 28 days post fertilization, is referred to as the “black box” of human development

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