A recent landmark study of trophoblast and embryonic stem cells (ESCs) has produced a breakthrough for stem cell research. Prof Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz and her colleagues at Cambridge University found that simply growing these two cells together leads to the development of "artificial embryo" structures termed ETS-embryos (Embryonic Trophoblast Stem embryos). These ETS-embryos strongly resemble mouse embryos in the days immediately following their implantation into the womb. Key to this success was development of “ETS-Embryo Medium” to culture the two stem cell types.
The efficiency of the process is remarkable. Just under 20% of the clusters of cells identified in co-cultures of trophoblast and embryonic stem cells were ETS-embryos. This efficiency offers the prospect of new applications, beyond the scope of embryo research. ETS-embryos are set to transform stem cell science. Potential applications include improving the efficiency of generation of transgenic animals for research and novel ways to make tissues and organs for stem cell research.
ETS-Embryo Medium is available only from Cell Guidance Systems.
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Assembly of embryonic and extra-embryonic stem cells to mimic embryogenesis in vitro. Sarah Ellys Harrison, Berna Sozen, Neophytos Christodoulou, Christos Kyprianou and Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz (2017) Science