LEWIS HOUGHTON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LEWIS HOUGHTON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Stem cell research. Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz holding a print of a mouse embryo in the early stages of development and division. Zernicka-Goetz's team of scientists from Cambridge University, UK, have created a structure resembling a mouse embryo in culture, using two types of stem cells and a 3D scaffold on which they can grow. Previous attempts to grow embryo-like structures using only embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have had limited success. This is because early embryo development requires the interaction and close co-ordination of ESCs with the two other types of stem cells - trophoblast stem cells (TSCs), which will form the placenta, and primitive endoderm stem cells that will form the 'yolk sac'. The teams findings have led to a completely revised model for peri-implantation morphogenesis in which extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins trigger the self-organisation of the embryo's stem cells.
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