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For the First Time, Mammal Embryos Have Been Grown In Space

mammal embryos

Image credit: Human Blastocyst. Prescott Pym via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Based on a Chinese experiment, it was confirmed for the first time that mammal embryos could evolve in space. This experiment was implemented, on board China’s SJ-10 recoverable satellite, in a self-sufficient chamber in which there were nearly 6,000 mouse embryos,. High-resolution photos demonstrated that some of embryos had evolved into blastocysts within 96 hours of launch.

On April 6 this year The SJ-10 was launched into space, and has safely back to Earth now. Scientists retrieved the capsule and the experiments, together with the mammal embryos. All would be transferred to Beijing for further analysis at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In the interview with China Daily, Professor DuanEnkui, principle researcher of the experiment said, it was a still a long way to go for the human being before they could be able  colonize the space. But before that, the human race would find  out whether it was possible for them to survive and reproduce in the outer space environment like they did on Earth.

Professor DuanEnkui went on, at the time being, their group had finally proved that the most inportant step in the reproduction was possible in the outer space, that was the early embryo development.

Mouse embryos

Mouse embryos that developed into blastocyst 80 hours after the launch. Institute of Zoology, CAS/China Daily

When SJ-10 recoverable satellite was launched, the embryos were at the two-cell stage of embryogenesis, which occured  two days after the egg was under fertilization. In the course of their stay in space, the fertilized cells had evolved  into blastocysts. That was the stage in which cell differentiation and structural changes had actually happened. At this same stage, human embryos would be also implanted in in-vitro fertilization.

Although the discovery from SJ-10 showed that mammal embryos could be able to evolve in space, it was not clearly indicated that this would also occur to the human embryos, becasue there should be a quite big difference between an embryo and the healthy birth of a mammal in space.

Source: China Daily

Top image credit: Human Blastocyst. Prescott Pym via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0