Unfertilised embryos?! Watch

Nator
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#1
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Hey guys, just reading about stem cells and came across the term unfertilised embryo, and the book says stem cells can be obtained from unfertilised embryo, which are embryos made from egg cells that haven't been fertilised by sperm. How is this possible? Surely an egg cell needs to be fertilised by sperm to produce an embryo?! What is an unfertilised embryo?
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Elwyn
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I agree, I assume they mean un-implanted embryo maybe?
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VaVe
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Agreed, unfertilised eggs are not embryos and they definitely aren't stem cells. Probably meant un-implanted.
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Cyanohydrin
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You are absolutely correct - whoever wrote that book should be shot!
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Nator
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Thanks for the responses But no it didn't mean un-implanted, because it says that unfertilised embryos are unlikely to survive (they are unviable), hence using them for stem cells can be slightly justified. So I don't get how you can get these unfertilised embryos
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VaVe
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(Original post by Nator)
Thanks for the responses But no it didn't mean un-implanted, because it says that unfertilised embryos are unlikely to survive (they are unviable), hence using them for stem cells can be slightly justified. So I don't get how you can get these unfertilised embryos
You can't get unfertilised embryos. If an egg is unfertilised then it isn't an embryo.
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Nator
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(Original post by VaVe)
You can't get unfertilised embryos. If an egg is unfertilised then it isn't an embryo.
Exactly :confused:
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VaVe
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(Original post by Nator)
Exactly :confused:
That's why the book you read that in is wrong. It may have meant un-implanted embryos which makes more sense.
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Cyanohydrin
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(Original post by Nator)
Exactly :confused:
What book is this?
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Cyanohydrin
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An embryo is the product of a fertilized egg it cannot be an unfertilised embryo.
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Nator
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(Original post by Cyanohydrin)
What book is this?
It's the AS Biology CGP Revision Guide
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Revd. Mike
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I'm a bit hazy on the subject, reproductive bio is really not my forté, but I seem to recall reading about a technique in which you can induce a calcium spike into an unfertilized ovum, "tricking" it into thinking it's been fertilized and to start proliferation. It obviously wouldn't be viable (and I imagine would probably not survive long), but I imagine it would give rise to stem cells of some sort.
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atheistwithfaith
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(Original post by Revd. Mike)
I'm a bit hazy on the subject, reproductive bio is really not my forté, but I seem to recall reading about a technique in which you can induce a calcium spike into an unfertilized ovum, "tricking" it into thinking it's been fertilized and to start proliferation. It obviously wouldn't be viable (and I imagine would probably not survive long), but I imagine it would give rise to stem cells of some sort.
Yeh, in theory all you need to do is present/inject the egg with the same enzymes the sperm would (but minus the actual sperm + genetic information) and a few other inhibitors. This would force embryogenesis. It's a bit more complicated than this, but that is the general concept.

Many other animals already DO force embryogenesis in their eggs without male sperm (asexual reproduction). This is known as parthenogenesis. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenogenesis). That article actually talks about it having been done in humans but I can't be assed to read the actual paper so I don't know how accurate Wiki is.

As Rev.d Mike says -- a Ca2+ spike is the major signalling change in eggs that tell it that a sperm has bound and that it should begin embryogenesis.
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