Research Gives New Insight Into Formation Of the Human Embryo (Biology)

Pioneering research led by experts from the University of Exeter’s Living Systems Institute has provided new insight into formation of the human embryo. 

The team of researchers discovered an unique regenerative property of cells in the early human embryo. 

The first tissue to form in the embryo of mammals is the trophectoderm, which goes on to connect with the uterus and make the placenta. Previous research in mice found that trophectoderm is only made once. 

In the new study, however, the research team found that human early embryos are able to regenerate trophectoderm. They also showed that human embryonic stem cells grown in the laboratory can similarly continue to produce trophectoderm and placental cell types. 

These findings show unexpected flexibility in human embryo development and may directly benefit assisted conception (IVF) treatments. In addition, being able to produce early human placental tissue opens a door to finding causes of infertility and miscarriage.  

The study is published in the leading international peer-review journal Cell Stem Cell on Wednesday, April 7th 2021. 

Dr Ge Guo, lead author of the study from the Living Systems Institute said: “We are very excited to discover that human embryonic stem cells can make every type of cell required to produce a new embryo.”  

Professor Austin Smith, Director of the Living Systems Institute and co-author of the study added, said: “Before Dr Guo showed me her results, I did not imagine this should be possible. Her discovery changes our understanding of how the human embryo is made and what we may be able do with human embryonic stem cells” 

Human naïve epiblast cells possess unrestricted lineage potential is published in Cell Stem Cell. 

The research was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) .

Featured image: Pioneering research by experts from the Living Systems Institute has provided new insight into formation of the human embryo. © University of Exeter


Reference: Ge Guo, Giuliano Giuseppe Stirparo, Stanley E. Strawbridge, Daniel Spindlow, Jian Yang, James Clarke, Anish Dattani, Ayaka Yanagida, Meng Amy Li, Sam Myers, Buse Nurten Özel, Jennifer Nichols, Austin Smith, Human naive epiblast cells possess unrestricted lineage potential, Cell Stem Cell, 2021, , ISSN 1934-5909, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2021.02.025. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S193459092100076X)


Provided by University of Exeter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s