Scientists Break Records by Growing Embryos in Lab for 13 Days

Friday, May 06, 2016

Embryo Feat

A study published in Nature and Nature Cell Biology states that researchers from Cambridge and Rockefeller University have broken the record for growing human embryos in lab and keeping them alive and active beyond the stage when foetus implants in the womb. Prior to this, the longest the scientists were able to keep embryo cells alive was for 9 days, though the average is 7 days.

Scientists in the latest experiment have broken this record by keeping embryo cells alive for 13 days after which they had to destroy the cells as legal limits to grow embryos in at least a dozen countries, including US and UK, is 14 days. The procedure used to grow embryos can help scientists gain new insights into early human development and causes of early miscarriages and ways to produce stem cells to treat diseases. The research has for the first time also shown how newly-forming embryos can mature beyond a few days outside a mother’s womb, something that was previously thought of as impossible.

Scientists now think that it will be possible to grow human embryos for more than 14 days. This has led to calls to revisit the legal limit. However, the limit could be revised only after taking representatives of local religious and cultural beliefs into confidence.

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