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‘An important next step’: Melbourne researchers create model embryos from skin cells

Ross and Russel & Neil Mitchell
Article image for ‘An important next step’: Melbourne researchers create model embryos from skin cells

Scientists from Monash University have led an international team which has created models of human embryos grown from skin cells, without the need for eggs or sperm.

Researchers have turned the cells into 3D structures that are molecularly similar to human blastocysts, which are embryos at five or six days post-fertilisation.

Deputy director of Melbourne University’s Centre for Stem Cell Systems, Professor Megan Munsie, says it’s “an important next step”.

“At the moment it’s very difficult to study those very early stages of development. We don’t know really how an embryo implants and forms a pregnancy,” she told Neil Mitchell.

“This kind of model may provide more insights and it’s a research tool.”

While the breakthrough has raised ethical concerns, experts say the research is appropriate.

“I think this is a complex area that is likely to be perhaps misconstrued,” Professor Munsie said.

Speaking to 3AW’s Ross Stevenson, head of the Clem Jones Centre for Neurobiology and Stem Cell Research at Griffith University, Associate Professor James St John, agreed.

“There’s no potential here to develop into humans,” head of the Clem Jones Centre for neurobiology and stem cell research at Griffith University, Associate Professor James St John.

Press PLAY below for more from Associate Professor St John.

Press PLAY below for more from Professor Munsie.

Ross and Russel & Neil Mitchell
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