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Stem cells organize themselves into pseudo-embryos

Researchers reported the ability of mouse stem cells to produce pseudo-embryos that display capacities similar to the embryo architecture in mammals. These structures, called gastruloids, show developmental features comparable to that of the posterior part of embryos aged from 6 to 10 days.

A research team from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), the University of Cambridge, UK, and the Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) published in the journal Nature about their findings.

The decisive architecture of the mammalian body is recognized soon after embedding the embryo in the uterus. The antero-posterior, dorso-ventral and medio-lateral axes of the body become structured under the control of gene networks that synchronize the dictation of DNA in various regions of the embryo.

These artificial pseudo-embryos will in some cases offer a substitute method to animal testing, in accord with the 3Rs. The 3Rs principle (reduce, replace, refine) has established itself globally as the basis of the ethical approach applied to animal testing.


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