Synthetic mice

Synthetic mice embryos with brains and hearts

This week two research groups announced that they have made synthetic mice embryos with brains and hearts in the test tube, starting only with embryonic stem cells.

This programme is now available ON-Demand by visiting the Science in Action Page, it will be available until Thursday the 11th of August. It will also be broadcast on Sunday the 7th of August in Phuket at 9:00 AM on 91.5 FM and 102.5 FM and Online via the Internet radio portals.

No sperm and eggs were involved.

Previously, embryos created this way have never got beyond the stage of being a tiny ball of cells.

These embryos grew and developed organs through 8 days – more than a third of the way through the gestation period for a mouse. Roland Pease talks to the leader of one of the teams, developmental biologist Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz of Cambridge University and Caltech about how and why they did this, and the ethical issues around this research.

Also in Science in Action this week:

The latest research on how we spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus when we breathe.

Infectious disease researcher Kristen Coleman of the University of Maryland tells us about her experiments that have measured the amounts of virus in the tiny aerosol particles emanating from the airways of recently infected people. The results underscore the value of mask-wearing and effective ventilation in buildings.

We also hear about new approaches to vaccines against the virus – Kevin Ng of the Crick Institute in London talks about the possibility of a universal coronavirus vaccine based on his research, and immunologist Akiko Iwasaki of Yale University extolls the advantages of nasal vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.

Presenter: Roland Pease Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

(Image: Stem cell built mouse embryo at 8 days. Credit: Zernicka-Goetz Lab)

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