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Scientists at the Weizmann Institute have successfully created an “embryo model” that closely resembles a 14-day-old human embryo, all without the use of sperm, eggs, or a womb. This research marks a significant milestone in the field of embryo modeling, offering a powerful tool to study the earliest stages of human development safely.

The embryo models were made using stem cells and chemicals to coax them into forming four types of cells found in early human embryos. The resulting models exhibited intricate details, including the trophoblast enveloping the embryo, cavities that facilitate nutrient transfer, a yolk sac with liver and kidney functions, and a bilaminar embryonic disc.

These embryo models hold the potential to shed light on various aspects of early development, uncover the emergence of different cell types, improve IVF success rates, and test the safety of medicines during pregnancy. However, the current 99% failure rate in model development poses a challenge, and the possibility of extending embryo development raises ethical questions.

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