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Two research teams create new record by growing human embryos outside womb for around two weeks
Research teams have created a record by growing human embryos outside a woman’s womb for around two weeks. They had to stop the embryo development so they do not violate an international ethics standard.
It has happened for the first time that researchers have been able to reach so close to the 14-day rule. For the first time, the rule was proposed in 1979 and was adopted in many countries at which laboratory research on human embryos should stop.
Two separate research teams have carried out the project. They were able to grow embryos for 12 days and 13 days. Both the groups have used similar cutting-edge technology in which chemicals and a special medium mimicked a human womb so that the embryos continue to develop.
They feel that the finding will bring further success in in-vitro fertilization field and will also help scientists know as to why miscarriages take place and why birth defects form.
The latest research included a modified technique and the researchers saw the embryos attaching themselves to plastic lab dishes the way it would in the womb. Researchers noticed that a human embryo developed differently than that of animals like mice.
The researchers mentioned that embryos first form tunnels and cavities. After knowing the findings, many experts have been calling to revise the 14-day rule. It was set because beyond that period the embryo starts to develop more distinct structures.
The researchers said, “The 14-day rule was never intended to be a bright line denoting the onset of moral status in human embryos. Rather, it is a public policy tool designed to carve out a space for scientific inquiry”.
But if the 14-day rule is extended then it might lead opposition from those who believe human life begins at fertilization.