Study of early human embryo development is essential for advancing reproductive and regenerative medicine. Traditional human embryological studies rely on embryonic tissue specimens, which are difficult to acquire due to technical challenges and ethical restrictions. The availability of human stem cells with developmental potentials comparable to pre-implantation and peri-implantation human embryonic and extraembryonic cells, together with properly engineered in vitro culture environments, allow for the first time researchers to generate self-organized multicellular structures in vitro that mimic the structural and molecular features of their in vivo counterparts. The development of these stem cell-based, synthetic human embryo models offers a paradigm-shifting experimental system for quantitative measurements and perturbations of multicellular development, critical for advancing human embryology and reproductive and regenerative medicine without using intact human embryos.
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