Italy reports stem-cell achievement

June 29, 2006

Italian scientists say the stem cells they extracted from "virgin birth" embryos are capable of turning into neurons.

The University of Milan researchers said the embryos were produced by a process called parthenogenesis, which allows eggs to develop without being fertilized.

The technique might allow embryonic stem cells to be produced without having to destroy an early stage human embryo made by fertilizing eggs with sperm, the Brisbane (Australia) Herald Sun reported.

Human "parthenotes" -- embryos made by parthenogenesis -- normally never develop beyond a few days. But the Italian researchers created parthenotes that divided and formed immature embryos called blastocysts, New Scientist magazine reported. They subsequently obtained stem cells from the embryos and grew them in the laboratory, demonstrating the cells can differentiate into mature neurons.

Monash University stem-cell expert Dr. Alan Trounson told the Herald Sun: "This is the first example I have seen of this in humans, and it is potentially very exciting. It could be a source of embryonic stem cells that's not embryonic in the conventional sense."

The findings were presented last week in the Czech Republic, during the annual meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers launch atlas of developing human brain

Related Stories

Researchers launch atlas of developing human brain

December 7, 2017
The human brain has been called the most complex object in the cosmos, with 86 billion intricately interconnected neurons and an equivalent number of supportive glial cells. One of science's greatest mysteries is how an organ ...

Beating heart patch is large enough to repair the human heart

November 28, 2017
Biomedical engineers at Duke University have created a fully functioning artificial human heart muscle large enough to patch over damage typically seen in patients who have suffered a heart attack. The advance takes a major ...

Innovative genetic and cellular techniques help identify multiple disease targets

November 12, 2017
Research released today highlights advances in the use of CRISPR-Cas9 and human induced pluripotent stem cell technologies to identify novel therapeutic targets for neurological disorders such as schizophrenia and addiction. ...

Schizophrenia originates early in pregnancy, 'mini-brain' research suggests

November 20, 2017
Symptoms of schizophrenia usually appear in adolescence or young adulthood, but new research reveals that the brain disease likely begins very early in development, toward the end of the first trimester of pregnancy. The ...

Genome editing reveals role of gene important for human embryo development

September 20, 2017
Researchers have used genome editing technology to reveal the role of a key gene in human embryos in the first few days of development. This is the first time that genome editing has been used to study gene function in human ...

Research redefines proteins' role in the development of spinal sensory cells

September 19, 2017
A recent study led by Samantha Butler at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA has overturned a common belief about how a certain class of proteins in the spinal cord regulate ...

Recommended for you

Dementia with Lewy bodies: Unique genetic profile identified

December 15, 2017
Dementia with Lewy bodies has a unique genetic profile, distinct from those of Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease, according to the first large-scale genetic study of this common type of dementia.

Our memory shifts into high gear when we think about raising our children, new study shows

December 15, 2017
Human memory has evolved so people better recall events encountered while they are thinking about raising their offspring, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New ...

What does hair loss have to teach us about cancer metastasis?

December 15, 2017
Understanding how cancer cells are able to metastasize—migrate from the primary tumor to distant sites in the body—and developing therapies to inhibit this process are the focus of many laboratories around the country. ...

Screening could catch a quarter of hip fractures before they happen

December 15, 2017
Community screening for osteoporosis could prevent more than a quarter of hip fractures in older women - according to new research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Cancer immunotherapy may work better in patients with specific genes

December 15, 2017
Cancer cells arise when DNA is mutated, and these cells should be recognized as "foreign" by the immune system. However, cancer cells have found ways to evade detection by the immune system.

New cellular approach found to control progression of chronic kidney disease

December 15, 2017
Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that extracellular vesicles - tiny protein-filled structures - isolated from amniotic fluid stem cells (AFSCs) can be used to effectively slow the progression of kidney damage ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.