Important Recent Breakthroughs in the Development and Use of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells
For decades and even centuries, mice have been used for experimentation, whether to find a cure for a specific ailment or to conduct complicated genetic trials on entire generations of mouse subjects. The new line of research associated with embryonic stem cells brings mouse model experiments to the forefront once more. Mouse stem cells have been found to present viable and important results when it comes to preparing stem cell therapies for safe use in curing human patients, generating specific types of tissue and much more.
Why Are Stem Cells from Mice Being Used for Research?
Mouse models are considered to be the most advanced and practical models used as an alternative to human genetic research. In many cases, ethical concerns prevent scientists from using human subjects and embryos to test stem cell therapies that could have a viable application for future use. In such cases, the fact that an impressive 99% of the genes belonging to mouse DNA are matched by corresponding human counterpart gene sequences can be extremely useful. Scientists are thus able to use embryonic and adult stem cells from mice and conduct their research unhindered, while also gaining significant insight into the potentially practical adaptation of the research to human clinical trials.
Sperm Cells Created from Mouse Stem Cells
Scientists in China have recently managed to develop the first mouse “sperm cells” using embryonic stem cells. While the process was only successful in creating spermatid-like cells, it holds great promise for the future of infertility treatments. The new cells were achieved by harnessing the remarkable developmental potential of mouse embryonic stem cells. Although there are still several steps to go until it is possible to develop healthy gametes and eventual offspring just by using stem cells, this achievement shows just how much potential mouse stem cell research can hold.
Scientists Have Successfully Generated a Mouse Embryo-Like Structure
Another significant breakthrough linked to the use of embryonic stem cells derived from mice was achieved at Cambridge University in England, where researchers have successfully generated a structure resembling a mouse embryo. While there is still a lot to be learned before the development of a fully functional, healthy embryo can be achieved – since a viable system for the development of the placenta and the yolk sac has yet to be discovered – this breakthrough could help scientists understand more about precisely what happens during the first days of embryo development, and possibly find at least some of the reasons why human pregnancies might fail at this time.
The Future of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Mouse studies are making the future of stem cell research brighter than ever. Many of the past few achievements and breakthroughs that are linked to embryonic stem cell research were achieved with the help of ES cells cultured from various mouse models. Because embryonic cells are able to take the role of virtually any other type of cell, mouse ES cells have already been used to develop and study various mouse tissue samples that closely resemble human tissue, and to evaluate their reaction to certain treatments and stimuli. The genetic manipulation of mouse ES cells and the addition of human genetic material is also at the forefront of embryonic stem cell research, continuing to show remarkable promise for future use.