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Scientists create first artificial mouse ’embryo’ from stem cells

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Scientists in Britain have for the first time created a structure that resembles a mouse embryo using a 3D scaffold and two types of stem cells – research which deepens understanding of the earliest stages of mammalian development.

Publishing their results in the journal Science on Thursday, the team based at Cambridge University said that while the artificial embryo closely resembled the real thing, it would be unlikely to develop further into a healthy mouse fetus.

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For research purposes, however, the scientists were able to show how the artificial embryo followed the same pattern of development as a normal embryo – with the stem cells organizing themselves in the same way.

Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, a professor at Cambridge’s department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience who led the work, said the success with mouse cells should pave the way for similar work with human cells, helping scientists overcome a major barrier to human embryo research – a shortage of embryos.

Currently, human embryos for research are developed from surplus eggs donated through fertility clinics, but Zernicka-Goetz said it should in future be possible to use the stem cells and scaffold technique to make artificial human embryos for study.

“This will allow us to study key events of this critical stage of human development without actually having to work on embryos,” she said. “(And) knowing how development normally occurs will allow us to understand why it so often goes wrong.”

Previous attempts to grow embryo-like structures have not had much success. The Cambridge team said they now think this was because these experiments used only one type of stem cells – embryonic stem cells (ESCs) – and did not allow for the fact that early embryo development requires different types of cell to coordinate closely with each other.

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For this work, Zernicka-Goetz’s team used ESCs plus another type called extra-embryonic trophoblast stem cells (TSCs).

“Both the embryonic and extra-embryonic cells start to talk to each other and become organized into a structure that looks like and behaves like an embryo,” Zernicka-Goetz said.

Stem cell specialists not directly involved in the work praised its methods and said the results would prove valuable in deepening scientific understanding of embryonic development.

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Dusko Ilic, a reader in stem cell science at King’s College London, described it as a “masterpiece” and “a beautifully conceived and executed study demonstrating interplay of different cells in different cellular compartments within the first days of mouse development”.

(Editing by Catherine Evans)

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At least Rex Tillerson tried to restrain Trump — Mike Pompeo is ‘nothing but a smirking cheerleader’: conservative columnist

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In August of 2017, conservative writer Max Boot penned an op-ed slamming then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson as having proved himself a "failure at every aspect of being secretary of state," adding that he should "do the country a favor and resign." But in a piece published this Sunday in the Washington Post, Boot would like to offer Tillerson an apology -- an apology for "underestimating his virtues."

"Now that his successor as secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is verbally assaulting a reporter and refusing to defend a career ambassador from character assassination — and possibly worse — I miss ol’ Rex and his Boy Scout ethos," Boot writes.

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GOP ex-congressman calls on Justice Roberts to override Republican effort to block witnesses

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In a column for the New York Times, former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, former Rep. Mickey Edwards (R-OK) and Georgetown law professor Joshua A. Geltzer urged Supreme Court Justice John Roberts to intercede and demand Senate Republicans allow witnesses in light of the latest John Bolton bombshell.

Following a New Times report that stated "President Trump directly tied the withholding of almost $400 million in American security aid to investigations that he sought from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript of a book that John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, wrote about his time in the White House," the three took to the Times editorial page to implore Roberts to step in.

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Anxious Senate Republicans face a massive blowback after John Bolton bombshell

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The impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump continues this week, with the president's defense team making the case for his acquittal followed by questions from senators. The president's lawyers opened their presentation on Saturday with a mere two hours of arguments.

This article was originally published at Salon

It's clear they are anxious to get this over with so that the Republicans can bring the "vindicated" Trump into the House chamber like a conquering hero on Feb. 4 for the State of the Union address. They certainly don't want him to deliver it in the middle of his impeachment trial. If the incontinence Trump has displayed on his Twitter feed over the last few days is any indication, there's a good chance he'll leap off the dais and try to strangle House manager Adam Schiff with his bare hands.

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