Latest in Science

Image credit: Ramalho-Santos lab

Scientists put mouse embryos in suspended animation for a month

It has potential implications for various fields of medicine.
1276 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Ramalho-Santos lab

A team of scientists from the University of California, San Francisco only wanted to slow down mice embryos' cell growth in the lab. Instead, they managed to completely pause their development, putting the blastocysts (very early embryos) in suspended animation for a month. What's more, they found that the process can put stem cells derived from the blastocysts in suspended animation, as well.

Okay, let's face it: that doesn't sound nearly as cool as putting humans in suspended animation. But their finding still has huge implications for various fields of medicine. Doctors could develop a way to suspend embryos for IVF and scientists could find a method to slow down aging, among other possibilities. Helps that the researchers were able to prove that the embryos can develop normally even after a pause in their growth.

Team member Ramalho-Santos from the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research said:

"It was completely surprising. We were standing around in the tissue culture room, scratching our heads, and saying wow, what do we make of this? To put it in perspective, mouse pregnancies only last about 20 days, so the 30-day-old 'paused' embryos we were seeing would have been pups approaching weaning already if they'd been allowed to develop normally."

So, what exactly did the team do that led to their finding? They used a drug that inhibited the activities of a protein called mTOR, which regulates different cellular processes. By inhibiting the protein, they also inhibit the cells' activities.

In the future, the researchers want to explore mTOR inhibitors' capability to pause stem cells' activities in the late stages of their development, which could be used to repair or replace organs. And since other studies already showed that mTOR inhibitors can extend the lives of mice, the researchers want to explore their possible uses in aging research.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
1276 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

View
AMD delays 16-core Ryzen 9 CPU to November

AMD delays 16-core Ryzen 9 CPU to November

View
Erica's modular synth helps you make music with preset cards

Erica's modular synth helps you make music with preset cards

View
TiVo gave its unannounced Edge DVR to a customer

TiVo gave its unannounced Edge DVR to a customer

View
Facebook will shut down Group Stories on September 26th

Facebook will shut down Group Stories on September 26th

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr