An Israeli study said on Wednesday that Israeli researchers have found a way to turn skin cells into embryo stem cells, which could lead to the creation of a complete embryo from skin cells.
In the groundbreaking study, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the researchers discovered a set of five genes capable of transforming mice skin cells into all three of the cell types that combine the early embryo.
The types are the embryo itself, the placenta and the extraembryonic tissues, such as the umbilical cord.
The researchers also found these transformations of the cells take about one month.
In the first stage of this process, skin cells lose their cellular identity, and then they slowly acquire a new identity of one of the three early embryonic cell types.
The researchers said in the future it may be possible to create an entire human embryo out of human skin cells, without the need for sperms or eggs.
This discovery also has vast implications for modelling embryonic defects and shedding light on placental dysfunctions, as well as solving certain infertility problems by creating human embryos in a petri dish.
The team used a new technology to examine the molecular forces that control cell fate decisions for skin cell reprogramming and the natural process of embryonic development.