Chinese scientists find mammal embryos can develop in space

CCTV News

(Photo: Xinhua) (Photo: Xinhua)

Chinese scientists on Sunday said they have successfully developed early-stage mouse embryos in space on a retrievable micro-gravity satellite in the first successful development in mammalian embryos in space in human history.

The SJ-10 research probe, launched on April 6, carried more 6,000 mouse embryos in a self-sufficient chamber the size of a microwave oven, said Duan Enkui, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Of those embryos 600 were placed under a high-resolution camera, which took photographs every four hours for four days and sent them back to Earth.

The pictures showed that the embryos developed from the 2-cell stage – an early-on embryonic cleavage stage – to blastocyst, the stage where noticeable cell differentiation occurs, about 72 hours after the satellite’s launch, Duan said.

The timing was largely in line with embryonic development on Earth, he added.

Once SJ-10 returns home sometime next week, scientists will compare the retrieved embryos with samples on Earth and perform further analyses on the profiles of early embryo development in space.

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Story by CCTV News.