Synthetic embryology: Early mammalian embryo modeling systems from cell cultures

Dev Growth Differ. 2021 Feb;63(2):116-126. doi: 10.1111/dgd.12713. Epub 2021 Mar 21.


Recently, the fields of embryology, developmental biology, stem cell biology, and cell reprogramming, have intersected with synthetic embryo systems (SESs) from cultured cells. Among such SESs, several approaches have engaged early-embryo-like cells, cells with atypical potency, or assembled traditional in vitro stem cell populations with synergy, to advance life discovery systems that may yield emergent knowledge and biotechnical advance. Such models center on the competent generation of blastocyst-like and post-implantation embryo-like forms. Our group, and several others have recently pioneered unique SES strategies covering a broad spectrum of key early embryo-like developmental stages and features to seed an emerging SES field. Herein, we provide a comprehensive perspective of synthetic embryology and the powerful promise that excites us.

Keywords: early embryo; implantation; stem cells; synthetic biology; synthetic embryo.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*